Warning: This show will keep you awake!
Adapted from Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd’s
Goodnight Moon by
Directed by Laura Stevens
Saturdays & Sundays @ &
Review by Deborah S Greenhut
It’s difficult to improve on a much-loved story, yet Goodnight Moon, the delightful first show of Manhattan Children’s Theatre’s 2007-2008 season, takes the children’s classic to a new level by adding captivating song and dance to a soothing bedtime favorite. Echoes of The Runaway Bunny and favorite nursery rhymes and other stories propel the bouncy insomnia of Bunny’s (Laurie Naftulin) wakeful imagination. Everyone you remember from the book is there in full force—the old lady whispering “Hush!” (Madeline Burns), who does star turns as Clarabelle the Cow, and Bear; Mouse (Jennifer Margulis), who transforms to Dog, and Bear; and last, but not least, the multi-talented Red Balloon (Chris Alonzo), who appears variously as Cat, Bear, and a show-stopping Toothfairy. Note: On Saturdays, Scott Venters alternates with Alonzo. The theatrics delighted children of all ages, and the upbeat plot line was thoroughly engaging. In Henry’s words, “All the night’s a stage,” and even cows can fly.
The elaborate choreography (Jessica Kreuger) coupled with the faithful designed “great green room,” (design by Aaron Mastin and scenic artist Andrea “Beanhead” Steiner) recreated the world of the book, and in director Laura Stevens conception, intricate lighting and staging highlighted that rapidly changing fantasy world of the Bunny. Sound design and music arrangement (John Ivy) plus whimsical costumes (Cynthia Johnson) kept everyone’s wide eyes open through every stay-awake ploy--from the stock request for a glass of water to the lost tooth. Stage managing (Kathleen Connor) the animated set proved that children’s theatre is a demanding art form. Following the sold-out performance, the accommodating cast socialized with the audience members in the lobby. A good time was had by all, including the youngest, who were less than the recommended age of 4.
Copyright 2007 by Deborah S Greenhut
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