BWW Review: THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS at The Rose Theater Will Blow You Away!
Did the Big Bad Wolf really huff and puff and blow the houses down? Did he really eat those innocent little pigs? Was he really big and bad? You be the jury. Listen to both sides of the story at the Rose Theater as they present THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS.
This children's favorite by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is brought to the stage through Robert Kauzlaric's script and lyrics, and music by Paul Gilvary and William Rush. Set in Piggsylvania, the story follows lead investigative journalist Lillian Magill (Ashley Laverty) as she seeks the truth, and nothing but the truth, behind the death of two little pigs based on the testimony of the surviving pig and a puppet show. So there's proof for you...put on a good enough show and maybe the jury will vote in your favor!
Prosecuting pig Julia (Lauren Krupski) looks fabulous in her sunny yellow ensemble, dramatically presenting her case while making golf dates with (get this name!) Judge Juris Prudence (Kimberlee Stone) on the side. A big fan of musical theater, Judge Prudence is swayed not only by her preconceived notions, but by the songs and dances and the puppet pageantry, which she declares bears either "no resemblance or total resemblance to the truth." Alexander T. Wolf (Dan Chevalier), more commonly known as the Big Bad Wolf, chooses to represent himself, putting himself in a quandary: does he take the stand or does he stand below? Up. Down. Up. Down. Either way, he stands alone as no one in the courtroom is on his side with the possible exception of journalist Magill who is eager to get a scoop.
Weaving in and out of the story is a series of characters played by Robby Stone. Included are Maxwell, the weak willed pig #3 with hammer in hand and an affinity for tinsel; the big bosomed, overwrought witness with a Minnesota Norwegian accent, Martha; and Dr. W. Shears, Swine Magazine's most eligible bachelor who slides out cheesy grins while pointing out facts on a diagram of Wolf. "Try and stop me... Don't!" he declares, and insists that wolves are hard wired for hog hunting.
Wolf opens his defense with a song, "Cheeseburgers Ain't Cute," which says the only reason people object to eating pigs is because pigs are cute. When he complains to Judge Prudence that the court is not fair, she retorts, "If you want fair, go to a sporting event. Or a spelling bee." (Was this a reference to Dan Chevalier's memorable performance as Leaf Coneybear in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"? Whether intentional or not, it cracked me up!)
Bridgette Dreher's set looks like a pop up book. The three-dimensional set features not much more than a barn, some boxes, and blades of grass, but it is so well done. Craig Moxon's lighting brings it to life. Costumes by Sherri Geerdes are bright and humorous, recalling the Beatles' Sgt Pepper, Marlow Thomas' "That Girl", and more from the 1960's. The prosecutor is preppy. The defense is shabby. Even the difference in the ears seems to point out a defining personality trait of each character.
I loved everything about this production. Led by director Kevin Ehrhart, music director Jerry Brabec, and choreographer Sue Gillespie Booton, the cast of five is absolutely delightful. Full of energy and motion, with terrific vocals, they were a huge hit with their grade school audience. They are funny. They are the perfect casting choices. There are random noises in the show such as the "boink! boink!" sound from "Law and Order SVU", and a nod to the "Rocky" theme song. The humor will appeal to both children and adults. It isn't surprising that THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS was called "one of the best children's shows of the year" by The New York Times.
Whether or not the audience judges the Big Bad Wolf to be truly guilty, I judge it to be a great show. It is a romp. It is a media circus. It is a provocation to contemplate truth and how we perceive it. You will love it. That's a true story.
Photos by MJB Photography