BWW Review: CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL Charms at Adventure Theatre MTC
The beloved peddler's quest for his missing caps has taken a musical twist! CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL kicks off Adventure Theatre MTC's 2015-2016 season with charm, humor, and catchy tunes for the entire family to enjoy. Directed by Patrick Pearson, this world premiere is not only a part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival but also marks the 75th anniversary of Esphyr Slobodkina's classic children's folktale, Caps For Sale. Just like the book, CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL, will leave audiences of all ages with wide grins and wanting more.
Though co-adaptors Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer and Michael J. Bobbitt add a few twists to CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL, the play is driven by Slobodkina's original tale. The cap peddler wears a huge stack of brown, blue, gray, and red caps carefully balanced on the top of his head. When no one buys a cap, he takes a nap under a shady tree. When the peddler wakes up, the caps are gone, and the monkey business begins.
While the entire ensemble is strong, a few performances stand out. Alan Naylor brings great energy to the Peddler and is perfectly cast for the role. Rebecca Tucker plays an elderly woman, Essie, and shines as the Peddler's counterpart. The Townspeople / Monkeys bring great energy to the show, and you can tell the actors and actresses seem to have a particularly good time with their back and forth between characters. In general, Pearson's direction allows the actors and actresses a freedom in their roles that greatly adds to the production's humor and fun.
One of the strongest and "coolest" aspects of CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL is Elizabeth Jenkins McFadden's set design. The set mimics the 2D illustrations in the book, allowing the tale's audiences of old and new to experience the classic setting: the iconic sun, red tulips, hilly streets, geometric buildings, and of course, the peddler's napping tree. Additionally, McFadden adds a few creative touches to the set, such as singing tulips, which simply increase the show's delight.
Jason Arnold's careful lighting design adds drama to the set and tone of each scene. The costumes are standard for each of the characters, though Kelsey Hunt's (Costume Designer) design for the Peddler's outfit is particularly spot on with the original illustration.
The production's catchy and fun music and lyrics is written by William Yanesh, a budding composer and lyricist in the Washington D.C. area. While the quality of the composition and vocals was good, the sound design seemed to lack a steady balance between the instrumentals and the actor's and actresses voices. However, this element is minor compared to the rest of the fun that the show will provide. Overall, CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL will provide an entertaining morning or afternoon for the entire family with its combination of nostalgia and fresh twists.
CAPS FOR SALE, THE MUSICAL plays at Adventure Theatre MTC at Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd in Glen Echo, MD) through September 27. The production will then go on a National Tour, October 5 - November 28, 2015 and end on Off-Broadway at The New Victory Theater, February 27 - March 6, 2016.
Running time: One hour with no intermission
Tickets for the production at Adventure Theatre MTC can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 301-634-2260.
Photo credit: Michael Horan
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From This Author Emma Kouguell