Review of The Snowy Day
at Adventure Theatre
January 23, 2012
by Kathleen Molloy
7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, MD 20812
Photo courtesy of Adventure Theatre
It is perfect that new fallen snow is in our area. Adventure Theatre is excited to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day with a world premiere of the famous book. Many of us will remember the story read to us as school children, but if you haven't, you can read it for free at www.WeGiveBooks.org. The late Ezra Jack Keats was the first author and illustrator to feature an African-American child as the main character in an American picture book. Keats' simple story earned him the distinguished Caldecott Award.
Michael Bobbitt, artistic director of Adventure Theatre, wanted to create a series of African American children's plays. The Snowy Day is the second production in the series. I can't wait until next year when they create a show based on the music of Bob Marley.
Playwright David Emerson Toney created the adaptation of the book under the direction of Jessica Burgess with music and lyrics by Howard University professor, Darius Smith. Similar elements from The Wizard of Oz are found in The Snowy Day production including lessons of knowledge and courage. There's also magic in the form of a snow pirate and quirky little snowflakes that sound like munchkins.
Alan Wiggins, who plays Peter, brought the main character of The Snowy Day to life. To see a little boy see snow for the first time in the big city was delightful. Peter's mother presents the six year-old with an antique red snowsuit she had been saving since he was born. Knowing he's not allowed to leave the block, he sets out on a solo adventure. Watching him take his first steps in piles of white fluffy stuff, creating snow angels and trying to save a snowball was heartwarming (no pun intended).
Speaking of warming, everyone knows snowmen melt. With the help of Peter and a healthy dose of imagination, Harold, the snowman, played by Calvin McCullough, learns to walk, dance, and eventually finds his way back to the North Pole. In my opinion, Harold stole the show. The classic snowman was updated with a white fro, brushes for hands and eyeglasses. In a sympathetic, yet most comical way, McCullough displays his raw emotions.
The only confusing part was Roberta's costume. The sassy crow looked like a bumblebee wearing a polka dot outfit. It took a few minutes to realize she was a bird. Roberta, played by Lauren Dupree, gave a riotous voice to Mrs. Krinkle. Giselle LeBeau-Gant acted in three roles as Peter's loving mother, the whimsical Snow Pirate and Mother Sun. Be sure to bring sunscreen when you encounter Mother Sun.
The great thing about the production is it's a puppet show, musical and play all wrapped into one awesome little performance. At 55 minutes, I didn't even notice the time because the show had the entire audience captivated with groovy dance moves and artificial drops of snow.
Don't be left out in the cold! Order tickets now as most of the shows are already sold out. I would happily trek out in the freezing cold to see another performance of The Snowy Day.
- The Snowy Day runs to February 12, 2012. Tickets are $18 each and can be purchased online or by calling 301.634.2270. Children under 1 are free.
- After the January 28 show, the Book Club will be host a fun activity. The cost is $5 per person.
- A sign language performance will be held February 4th at 2 pm. and a sensory friendly performance on February 11th. Both shows are at 2pm.
- Celebrate your child's birthday at Adventure Theatre. See a show and celebrate in the party room. My daughter had a blast at her friend's birthday party held here.
- Spring break workshops will be held April 2 to 5, 2012.
- Registration for summer camp has begun. Two week theatre workshops are for ages 6 to 15.
- There are clean restrooms, but no changing stations.
- Up next: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day which will run from March 2 to April 9, 2012.
Have you seen The Snowy Day? What's your opinion? Just drop us a note and Our Kids will add your comments to this review.