While the Back Alley had done productions for children intermittently over the years, in our last year in 1989 we went all in, with four productions created specifically for young audiences. I found little or no information on the first three– PANCAKES, THE LOIS YOUNG SHOW and BE-BOP SIZZLE POP!— but there was a complete file on MAX AND ZOOEY, ZOEY AND MAX, which the Back Alley commissioned.

Written by Will Holt, the creator of an earlier Back Alley production, A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, and his wife, Dion Alden Holt, MAX AND ZOEY followed the adventures of two real-life four-year-old cousins as they navigated chicken pox (now almost eradicated due to the vaccine that became available in 1995, but then still a childhood rite of passage) and their fear of night noises. Gretchen Corbett directed and the great three-person ensemble was Lisa Gates, Terri Girvin and Ken Hoit.

The critics loved it, but more importantly, parents did. We received moving letters telling us how much these stories based on real-life events meant to families.

–Laura Zucker