By Judith Cookis Rubens
Kids are sharp. They know what they like and what makes them happy.
Take, Pinkalicious Pinkerton, the precocious young heroine of Farmers Alley Theatre’s latest children’s show, “Pinkalicious! the Musical,” for example. She’s obsessed with all things pink, from her clothes and toys, to the frosted pink cupcakes she can’t stop eating. Nobody can tell her to stop loving pink so much. And, really, who can blame her?
Against parental warnings, she eats one too many of her pink delights, only to awaken – much to her parents’ dismay – pink all over, a severe case of Pinkititis. Her only hope of reversing the problem is with lots of green veggies, says her doc, a prescription that will surely have kids groaning in the aisles.
Based on their popular children’s books, sisters Victoria and Elizabeth Kann have fashioned an upbeat, hour-long musical with witty lyrics and original music by composer John Gregor. Sure, it’s a sugary sweet plot and barely-there message (too much of a good thing can be bad, maybe?), but the adult cast has such fun with the material that you barely notice.
Director Sandy Bremer keeps things moving and adds playful choreography to fit several musical genres, from blues and pop to traditional musical theater numbers. Besides being colorful fun for kids, the show has a tongue-in-cheek quality, a “maybe we’re talking about something else” vibe that will give parents a few knowing chuckles.
Western Michigan University student Mallory King, as Pinkalicious, brings an irreverent attitude to her spunky character. Russell Mernagh adds laughs and smooth vocals as her irritated little brother, Peter. His bluesy song about yearning to express himself (“I Got the Pink Blues”) was a highlight. Kris Allemang Stahl, as Mrs. Pinkerton, and Zachary Joel Smits, as Dad Pinkerton, play it straight until the end with Dad’s funny reveal. The pair also has a fun duet about the power of antioxidants. And Katelin Spencer delivers memorable melodies as the toe-tappin’ doctor pushing the healthy greens.
Even when things veer from fanciful to downright silly (dancing cupcakes in a dream sequence, or buzzing bees in a park), it’s done with a wink.
The perfectly pink set by W. Douglas Blickle glows in the intimate 100-seat theater, and, thanks to a few clever lighting tricks, the color changes are quite magical.
Even for my young companions – boys, no less – the title character’s transformation was something to be celebrated. The yummy pink cupcakes, for sale in the lobby from a local bakery, didn’t hurt either. Kids, they know what they like.
‘Pinkalicious! the Musical’
Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo. 2 p.m. March 16, 22-23; 7 p.m. March 21; and 11 a.m. March 22. $10-15. 269-343-2727. http://www.Farmersalleytheatre.com