The book (Allison Gregory) for the most part stays true to Prokofiev’s story, where young Peter and his friends – bird, duck and cat – work hard to avoid being attacked and eaten by the cunning wolf. Unfortunately, duck can’t get away fast enough and the wolf gobbles him up. Peter comes up with a plan to capture the wolf and eventually succeeds by tying him up and parading him off to the zoo. The music, (Hummie Mann) includes hints of the original Prokofiev score, but show tunes dominate, supplemented by cleverly choreographed tango, waltz and Charleston numbers (Patti D’Beck).
Matthew McGloin, is convincing as the brave but hesitant young Peter. His runs and jumps are perfectly synchronized with Bird (Maggie Marlin), and Duck (Gia Mora, who doubles as the hunter). Meanwhile, Cat (Calvin McCullough) tries to escape the wolf while sometimes competing with him to catch his feathered friends for lunch. Landon Nagel as Wolf is an excellent bad guy, (he doubles as the grandfather), fully enjoying making Peter and the animals shake in their boots, but garnering our sympathy in “It’s What us Wolfies Do.” The group numbers are full of fun, particularly the finale, when Cat’s crowd-pleasing “The Gospel According to Cat,” gets everyone clapping and singing along.
The sets (Milagros Ponce de Leon) are spare but appropriately leave room for multiple chases and fights. The fast-paced scenes when Wolf chases the animals and eventually catches duck, and at the end when wolf is caught in the rope, are especially enjoyable for kids.
Hats off to Debra Kim Sivigny for the gorgeous costumes. The beautifully paired costumes and animal puppets (Andrea “Dre” Moore) for Duck and Bird are awesome, as is the wolf’s “coat,” and wiry nose headpiece. The Phantom-of-the-Opera-like masks on the hunter and grandfather might be a bit scary for younger kids.
Purists may cringe at the absence of Prokofiev’s signature musical cues for the characters – the strings for Peter, the flute for the bird, the oboe for the duck, the clarinet for the cat, and the horns to signify the wolf. But for those who are willing to accept a major departure from the original, under David Leong’s strong direction, with its live action, foot-tapping musical numbers and talented cast, this adaptation of Peter and the Wolf is worth seeing.
Peter and the Wolf
By Allison Gregory . Adapted from the story by Sergei Prokofiev
Music by Hummie Mann .
Directed by David S. Leong
Choreographed by Patti D’Beck
Reviewed by Miriam Chernick
Peter and the Wolf runs through March 21, 2010.
For details, directions and tickets, click here.
Notes: Bring an extra sweater as the theater gets very cold.
Recommended for ages 5 and up.