BWW Review: ROCKIN' DOWN FAIRYTALE LANE at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Who doesn't love a good fairy tale? For adults, they can offer a nostalgic look back at when life was carefree and innocent. For children, they are an open door to imagination and wonderment. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe's Founder/Artistic Director, Nate Jacobs, pulled together so many beloved fairy tale characters in his updated Rockin' Down Fairytale Lane musical.
As out journey begins we join three sassy, singing and dancing Fairytalettes, Florine (Khalifa White), Shaquale (Ashley D. Brooks), and Tiffany (Cherise James), as they guide us through the stories and interactions, (with a bit of a twist), of smooth Wolfie (Joey James), and the three little aloof pigs, Piggalet (Derric Gobourne Jr.), Wiggalet (Joshua Thompson), and Jimmy D (Fred Taylor); show stealer Jack, from the Bean Stalk, (Samuel Waite), his Mom (Renata Eastlick), his cow Cloverbell (Topaz von Wood); spoiled Goldilocks (Alitash Tafesse), her Mom (Renata Eastlick); sweet Snow White (Jai Shanae); conceited Prince Charming (Earley Deane); conniving witch Drucilla (Ariel Blue), and kind Dwarf (Henry Washington).
We all know the storylines but Jacobs gives them a nice twist, adding some fun for the kiddos in the audience and a few adult moments that get a chuckle out of the grown ups in crowd. The songs written for this musical are uplifting, sometimes soulful, sometimes pop, sometimes, Broadway-ish. I particularly liked the Fairytalettes singing "I Believe in Fairy Tales" and Wolfie's "Huff, Puff, Blow Your House Down". I may or may not have shed a tear when Jack sang "Cloverbell" to his cow, just before he had to sell her at the market. Something current for today's social dilemma is a great number titled, "What Can We Do About Mean People".
It was nice to see the Troupe's regulars spread their wings and bring some of these fairy tale characters to life. The children, as usual, steal the show. Sarasota, keep your eye on Samuel Waite. I predict we are going to be seeing and hearing a lot of this young man. Music director Jay Dodge II and the band delivered impactful music as always and creative costuming by Angela Franklin-Mayo rounded off the fairy tale characters nicely. It was good to see Topaz von Wood dancing about and waving her wand as the magical fairy. Her graceful presence added a touch of whimsy to this production.
In the production notes, Mr. Jacob's states that he wrote the first version of this show 20 years ago while running the performing arts program at the Westcoast School for Human Development. He received letters from students and teachers explaining how much they enjoyed the show and how it impacted their lives by igniting their imaginations. Over the years he was encouraged to bring the show back to the stage. This is the first show he has written with all original music. In this new version Joey James, WBTT education director, collaborated with Nate to bring some interesting new touches to the script.
Nate Jacobs' Rockin' Down Fairytale Lane is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Nate Jacobs and book by Nate Jacobs and Joey James. The show runs through August 12, 2018 at WBTT Theatre. For more information visit, www.westcoastblacktheatre.org.