BWW Reviews: FUN WITH STEM is Great Fun for a Young Audience!
FUN WITH STEM, is playing now until April 6 with matinee and evening performances at Blumenthal Performing Arts Booth Playhouse. Tickets are on sale at the Blumenthal box office: 704 372-1000 and online at CarolinaTix.org. BWW readers may use code: FUN to get $2 off per ticket
I had been seeing the banners and advertising for FUN WITH STEM. "STEM" is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A clown with STEM? I didn't know what to expect. I attended the musical this week the theater filled with 435 children, ages 4-8. If sheer loudness of giggles and screams were any indication of the caliber of performance, I'd say, it was the best entertainment I had ever seen for the younger crowd. It isn't "Bill Nye the Science Guy". It's for a younger audience and I withessed musical fun. The children left the theater knowing everything in our modern world is touched by "STEM".
I heard the production had technical difficulties with computer software the night it opened. Well, all technology in the show seemed to work flawlessly during the performance I attended. Cory the Clown entertained with slapstick, juggling and unicycling. The cast includes Fiona the Science Buff, played by Cameron Pace, and the Circus Gang played by Sam Pomerantz,Amanda Leigh Berkowitz, Devin Rickus and Noelle Cassier. They kept the pace moving and added enthusiasm. There are two robotic puppets, Stan the Toucan and Darrel the Barrel. They are the comedy sidekicks in the show.
This is a professional musical show with music composed Vlado Kolenic. My favorite song was "Imagination". It started with a Circus Gang member reciting an Albert Einstein quote, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." This song captured a youthful spirit of play. The musical numbers were choreographed beautifully by Bo Broadwell.
There was a green screen segment with a small train. Cory the Clown jumped on the train and with audience help, by clapping hands and stomping feet, the train moved to the other side of the stage.
A main theme, which ran through the show was about pulleys; from the "Rube Goldberg" contraption, to the stage curtain being pulled up, to the motors and mechanisms of the robotic puppets.
In an after-show, the Circus Gang and Cory the Clown ran around with a live camera to show the audience how the puppets work with motors and how a computer makes the train move. Cory the Clown explained the robotics of Stan the Toucan and then explained the simple engineering of a marionette string puppet. He performed a touching marionette piece "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin. This vignette captured the heart of all including the adults!
I asked a 7 year-old audience member what he thought of the show. He said, "It was fun, I'll never forget today and what I learned about STEM." If you have young children, you have to treat them to FUN WITH STEM! Don't miss it.