BWW Reviews: AND THEN CAME TANGO at the Growing Stage is Fascinating

BWW Reviews: AND THEN CAME TANGO at the Growing Stage is Fascinating

The Growing Stage, The Children's Theatre of New Jersey is now presenting a World Premiere play, And Then Came Tango through March 29th. Written by Emily Freeman and directed by the theatre's Founder and Executive Director, Stephen L. Fredericks, this show is a completely entertaining and important piece of theater. Children and adults alike will be fascinated by the story, the inventive staging and an opportunity to experience something very special.

Freeman's script was inspired by the true story of Roy and Silo, the two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who formed a pair bond, built a nest, and became so determined to be parents that they incubated a rock. When they are given orphaned egg, the pair successfully raised a baby fledgling. This event put the zoo in the center of controversy. Dance, storytelling and music are a part of this play that educates and celebrates families of all types.

In the play, Walter (John Patrick Cleary) is the serious minded, vigilant Central Park Zookeeeper who has charge of the chinstrap penguins. Lily (Savannah McLaughlin), a 5th grader, is a member of the Junior Zookeeper program and works with Walter daily after school. Precocious and exuberant, Lily admits to lacking personal patience but she has a true penchant for doing what is right with the support of her mom (Melissa Cox). Cleary and McLaughlin's acting talents anchor the production and make the story very relatable.

Geovanny Fishetti as Silo and Matthew Varvar as Roy do a wonderful portrayal of the two male penguins. The cast is rounded out with Heather Elizabeth Fleischman, Lauren Santarelli, Nikole Rizzo, Matthew Fralley and Mackenzie Miller.

You will enjoy the dance sequences that illuminate the story. With a lovely original score by Paul Morbach and clever choreography by Jillian Petrie, the performance troupe interfaces the show's plot with an exquisite display that includes expressive movement, intricate lifts and acrobatics.

Once again, The Growing Stage has compiled a fine production staff with scenic design by Perry Arthur Kroeger, costumes by Lori Lawrence, lighting design by S.L. Fredericks, and stage management by Becky Nitka. Andy Wiginton is the Dramaturge.

And Then Came Tango is a fascinating, well-conceived show, wonderfully executed by The Growing Stage.

And Then Came Tango will be performed at The Growing Stage, The Children's Theatre of New Jersey through March 29th. The show is 75 minutes with a 15- minute intermission. It is recommended for children 7 years and older. Performances are Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 4:00 pm and Sundays at 4:00 pm.

The Growing Stage is located at 7 Ledgewood Avenue, Netcong, NJ 07857. For tickets, call the Box Office at (973) 347-4946 or visit

Photo Credit: Steve Fredericks

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