BWW Reviews: Growing Stage's RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
The professional children's theater company Growing Stage knows how to cater to the tots that fill their seats. When you walk into the historic Palace Theatre in Netcong, NJ, you step into an enchanted land perfect for children of all ages. Murals of classic characters adorn the walls inside the theater. A 'reindeer' shopping area takes up a back corner of the space for this holiday season. And a painted brick road creates the center aisle making sure that audiences know they are in a land for children.
I happily attended a performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to get me into the Christmas spirit. The moment the overture started, I was transported back to that of my own youth watching the yearly stop-motion show. All of the classic Johnny Marks songs and musical underscoring come directly from the beloved Rankin-Bass television special. And Growing Stage does not disappoint with this 'live action' production. Winter wonderland sets of snow trees and the Christmas town roll on and off stage (many times pushed by reindeer, elves, and rabbits). As someone who has watched the show so many times I believe I could quote it, I was so entranced by the attention to detail in costume design (by Lori B. Lawrence and Scaramouche Costumes) and set and prop design (by Perry Arthur Kroeger). It was obvious they had a shared desire with director Stephen L. Fredericks to give audiences what they know from television. But this production takes the wonderful story to a new level with so much dancing choreographed by Jillian Petrie and musical direction by Laura Petrie. It is a perfect mix of nostalgia for older audiences members and Christmas wonder for those young.
Photo Credit: All photos by Danny Campos
From This Author Gregory G. Allen