BWW Reviews: Adventure Theatre MTC's Children's Production of PINKALICIOUS is Both Pink and Delicious for All Ages
PINKALICIOUS, at the Adventure Theatre - Musical Theater Center, in Glen Echo Park, directed by Carl Menninger, based on Victoria and Elizabeth Kann's children's novel, and adapted by the authors, with music and lyrics by John Gregor, is a winner. Although it is aimed at young children, it has plenty to delight parents and older kids as well.
Pinkalicious and Peter Pinkerton (Carolyn Agan and John Sygar) love the color pink. Peter isn't allowed to wear pink clothes or play with pink toys because his father thinks it's an inappropriate color for boys. Pinkalicious, on the other hand, is allowed to go as far as she wants, except for eating all the huge, pink cupcakes her mother has baked. When she sneaks another one in the middle of the night and turns pink from her head to her toes, that's fine with her until her doctor diagnoses her with pinkatitis, for which the cure is to eat only green foods. Pinkalicious hates green foods - especially vegetables. How she and Peter solve both their problems provides a feel-good story for little ones.
The quality of the songs and choreography far exceed the usual fare for young children. The music has a Disneyesque feel to it, and Ms. Agan's voice and delivery would fit perfectly in a Disney Broadway extravaganza. The ingenious choreography (by Michael J. Bobbitt) emphasizes uniqueness over complexity; the Pinkatitis and Bicycle Built for Four numbers are brilliant.
The imaginative scenery (by Collin Ranney) is as important as the characters and story. As the audience walks in, they pass person-sized potted lollipop style flowers that are used later in the show. Clouds adorn the walls and numerous tiny chandelier cut-outs, some pink and some white, hang from the ceiling - IT'S A SMALL WORLD meets THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The show manages to combine the sweetness of the former to appeal to young children with just the right touch of the Phantom's irony to appeal to the older members of the audience.
I only have two nitpicks with the show: The pink gels on the lights do not succeed in turning the background pink when the dialogue mentions that everything is pink. Also, when Pinkalicious herself turns pink, the only things that change are her clothes and her hair. A full make-up job would be impossible while she's hiding under a blanket on-stage, but a few pink stickers on her cheeks and arms would help small children understand why her father is trying to scour the pink away with a scrubbing brush.
The humor in the production is very much geared to adults and older children, skewering modern family life in its portrayal of adults who have overprogrammed their own and their children's time. The hyper-efficient parents tell the kids that there is no time for fun because everyone must "organize, streamline, and recycle." The script dumps so heavily on the parents - especially on the working mom, who dresses like June Cleaver and does all the cooking - that the writers almost seem to be advocating for a return to the 1950's ... until the script does a 180-degree pivot and points out that there is nothing wrong with boys liking the color pink.
Maybe I'm reading too much depth into the story, but it does end with Pinkalicious's gaining some maturity, the father's acceptance of his son's liking pink toys and clothing, and the family's decision to spend more time having fun together. Attending PINKALICIOUS together would fill the bill.
The other cast members are Ashleigh King (Mrs. Pinkerton), Jaysen Wright (Mr. Pinkerton), Sarah Frances Williams (Dr. Wink/Alison), and understudies Jan Bevan, Sean McComas, and Maggie Leigh Walker. The rest of the production team consists of Nicole Cusick (assistant director), Wayne Chadwick (music director), Katie Touart (costume design), Andrea "Dre" Moore (prop design), Andrew Cissna (lighting design), Kenny Neal (sound design), Madeleine Evans (stage manager), and Julia Singer (assistant stage manager).
PINKALICIOUS will be playing through August 31, 2014, with multiple shows on Saturdays and Sundays, Mondays at 10:30 a.m., and some Fridays at 7 p.m. There will be a sensory/autism friendly performance on Saturday, August 23rd, at 2 p.m., and an ASL performance on Saturday, July 5th, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19 each, and are available by calling 301-634-2270 or online at www.adventuretheatre-mtc.org. The performances take place at Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Maryland 20812, in Glen Echo Park. The actors come out after the show to pose for pictures with their fans.
For a review of another top-notch children's production running concurrently in Montgomery County -- THE BFG, at Imagination Stage -- click on the following link: http://www.broadwayworld.com/washington-dc/article/BWW-Reviews-Imagination-Stage-Delights-with-its-Production-of-THE-BFG-Adapted-by-David-Wood-from-Roald-Dahls-Childrens-Novel-20140703?PageSpeed=noscript
Photo Credit: Mike Horan (except for photo of teen fan with actor John Sygar, whose photo credit is Audrey Liebross).