Sunday, May 3, 2015

theatre review - THE THREE JAVELINAS - Childsplay - April 26, 2015

Tommy Strawser, D. Scott Withers, and Molly Lajoie
(photo: Tim Trumbule)
Click here for more information on this production, that runs through May 24th

"Having the desire to go after your dreams while also understanding the importance of staying close to your family is the message at the center of the charming new musical The Three Javelinas, receiving its world premiere at Childsplay... Based on two of Susan Lowell's books, which in turn were based on the classic fairy tale of "The Three Little Pigs,"a colorful, upbeat musical with a tuneful score and, as usual with Childsplay, a very talented cast... Josefina and her brothers José and Juan are a group of traveling troubadours, who perform their musical selections at various saloons. Josefina dreams of becoming a ballerina, so she plans to head to Hoggywood to pursue her dreams. Juan has dreams of his own of doing something with his ability to draw. But the always joking José is happy with his life and wants the three to remain together as a performing trio. This conflict sets up a dilemma for the siblings, should Josefina and Juan pursue their dreams or stick with the family? While that seems like enough plot with a good message for a musical geared to a family, the fact that the three siblings are javelinas, and there just happens to be a coyote on the prowl, allows adaptor Jenny Millinger to expertly combine Lowell's two books, and the famous fable of the "Three Little Pigs," into a fun and engaging musical with a message.  With a combination of country flavored tunes, mariachi themes and rockabilly licks, along with a continuous nod to the southwest in the arrangements and even a bit of Broadway razzle dazzle in the way of a big tap number, the score by Todd Hulet is varied and tuneful. While there may not be any songs you remember later, the numbers are fun and the lyrics by Millinger are cute. ..a few things in the book could be tighter, especially in that it may be just a bit long to completely hold the attention of younger audience members. However, there is a sweetness and charm to the show that elevates the whole affair, even with a few shortcomings, into a winning musical. ...could still use a few tweaks in the story to tighten it up a bit and clarify a few small things and the score could possibly stand to either lose a song or two or have a more toe tapping memorable number. But even with those few shortcoming, The Three Javelinas is still a fun family friendly musical with a joy and clarity to its message that shows children of all ages that you can pursue your dreams while still remaining faithful to your family." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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