- Twice Upon A Time: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and
- The Emperor’s New Clothes
- By Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
- Directed By Nick Olcott.
- Produced by Imagination Stage.
- Reviewed by Max Talisman.
Imagination Stage’s Twice Upon a Time opens with a well staged musical number which tells the story of The Lorax. The Lorax is the story of Onceler (Bobby Smith) who begins cutting down all the trees in the land and The Lorax, who speaks for them, will not have it!
The Lorax number was originally cut from Ahrens and Flaherty’s Broadway version of Seussical and I can understand why. It did not have much to do with the plot and it would have just bogged the show down. Here, paired with The Emperor’s New Clothes, it works well.
Kathleen Geldard’s colorful costumes and Marsa “Za” Johns’ props were wonderful. I thought the masks for The Lorax were very well done, especially the mask for Onceler, because they did not show his eyes. (In the books and movies, Onceler’s face is never shown). A.J. Guban’s lighting was gorgeous, with so many different vivid colors. However, I found Jos. B. Musumeci Jr’s geometric set confusing. There were so many shapes on the stage that I just did not know what to focus on.
And now to The Emperors New Clothes, which encompasses the largest part of the show. This tale tells the story of 14 year old, Emperor Marcus, who is not ready to run an empire. He decides that clothes can make him a better ruler. When his clothes do not help his thoughts, a peddler sells him clothes that will expose the truth. However the peddler is not a clothes maker but a swindler! The clothes are actually invisible.
The performances were well cast. My personal favorite performer was Priscilla Cuellar as The Cat in the Hat, and The Swindler. She had a soaring voice and a great stage presence. Another standout was, Ryan Nealy as Arno and The Lorax. As Arno, Ryan sang beautifully and acted like he was truly a teenager.
Nick Olcott directed the show with a very creative vision which worked well. The biggest directing standout was Jay Crowder with the musical direction. The harmonies were beautiful, especially on the number, “Only a Guy Like You.” Overall I thought the show was creative, imaginative, and very colorful. A great job by Imagination stage.
Running time: approximately 1:15. No intermission
When: thru Jan 13th. Saturdays at Saturdays at 12:30, 3:30 & 7:00 PM and Sundays at 12:30 & 3:30 PM.
Where: Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Avenue in Bethesda, MD
Info: Box Office: 301 280-1660 or visit the website
The show is recommended for ages 4 and up.