Review: ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical! at The Growing Stage-Children's Theatre at its Best

ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical!

By: Mar. 20, 2024
Review: ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical! at The Growing Stage-Children's Theatre at its Best
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“Sometimes you need someone to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.”  By Arthur in ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical!   

The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey has produced another successful, inspiring show for young viewers and their families.  They are currently presenting the New Jersey premiere of ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical!  There’s only two more opportunities to see it this coming Saturday, 3/23 and Sunday 3/24.  We attended a school matinee when the students were completely delighted by the show. Get your tickets and head to Netcong to enjoy children’s theatre at its best.

ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical!  is based on the ever-popular “Arthur” book series created by Marc Brown.  It has been adapted for the stage with a book and lyrics by John Maclay and music and lyrics by Brett Ryback. The production enjoys top-notch direction by The Growing Stage’s Founder and Executive Director, Stephen L. Fredericks with spirited musical direction by Melinda Bass O’Neill and clever choreography by Cari Sanchez.

In the show, Mr. Ratburn, a teacher at Lakewood Elementary School asks his students to write pieces that will be performed for all the residents of Elwood City. But Arthur is not as enthusiastic about the project as some of his classmates.  He has several ideas for his presentation but becomes anxious as the school’s show gets closer. Arthur's parents, little sister D.W, and Mr. Ratburn along with  Buster, Brain, Francine, and Muffy all encourage him.  Arthur soon learns the importance of being his genuine self.  It’s an ideal lesson for all people!

Review: ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical! at The Growing Stage-Children's Theatre at its Best

The talents and enthusiasm of the cast complement the story wonderfully. Favorite characters in the Arthur storybooks come alive on stage with humorous moments and fun, spirited musical numbers. The company includes Tyler Miranda as Arthur; Sara Giacomini as D.W.; Jason Pumarada ad Buster; Kiersten Morgan as Muffy; Donald Danford as The Brain/Dad; Sydney Matthews as Francine/Mom; and Davis Cameron Lemley as Mr. Ratburn.

The Production Crew has done a great job of setting a colorful setting for ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make a Musical! They include Stage Manager, Matthew Clark Fralley; Scenic and Production Designer, David O’Neill; Costume Designer, Lori B. Lawrence; Set Construction, S.L. Fredericks; Lighting Designer, Steve Larson; Light Board Operator, Dana Mautone; Stage Crew, Ashley Picado; Activity Guide Coordinator, Natalie Kane; Graphic Designer, David O’Neill; and Office Volunteer, Vicky Stoner.

As they celebrate their 42nd season, the Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey has succeeded beautifully in accomplishing their mission to “nurture the development of the performing arts through education and to educate, produce, and perform works that engage the entire family.” ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make a Musical! Is a show that shouldn’t be missed!

The Growing Stage is located at 7 Ledgewood Avenue, Netcong, NJ 07857. For tickets to ARTHUR & FRIENDS Make A Musical! visit and call 973-347-4946. The show runs for 75 minutes and there's a special time after the curtain call to meet the story’s characters!

Photo Credit: John Posada