THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

Doug Lopachin as Geppeto and Cooper Rodgers as Pinocchio

Review: Disney's My Son Pinocchio | Casa Manana Childrens Theatre | Casa Maņana Theatre


Nose It All

It's no lie: Casa Mañana's My Son Pinocchio is magical.



published Monday, February 21, 2011

It turns out the Blue Fairy is a no-nonsense kind of fairy. You ask for something, and it’s yours. She’s beautiful, too—exactly what you expect a fairy to look like with long curls and dressed in a lacy, sparkly gown with gossamer wings. Here’s what you may not have known about her: When she sings, it gives you goose bumps, and she has a feisty side.

Ashley Arnold brings the Blue Fairy to life in Disney’s My Son Pinocchio, presented by Casa Mañana Children’s Theatre. She glides onto the stage and sets the tone for the familiar tale of Pinocchio, the wooden boy who wanted to be real, with a flawless "When You Wish Upon a Star," the timeless Disney classic.

This particular version of Pinocchio’s story is told from the point of view of Geppetto, the wooden boy’s maker and father. David Stern (book) and Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics) originally created the piece as Disney’s Geppetto, a made-for-TV movie in 2000, starring Drew Carey as Geppetto, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the Blue Fairy and Brent Spiner as Stromboli. Schwartz, best known for his musicals Godspell and Wicked, added new songs to the two that were in the 1940 Disney cartoon version of Pinocchio, “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings.” Stern and Schwartz adapted the film version to the stage, and it became Disney’s Geppetto & Son, which is how it premiered in 2006 at the Coterie Theater in Kansas City, Mo.

After a Google search, it’s still not clear why the show changed its name again to Disney’s My Son Pinocchio, but that’s the name of the show on the Casa Mañana stage, directed by Joe Sturgeon with musical direction by Michael Plantz.

The story begins with Geppetto asking the Blue Fairy to take Pinocchio back because he’s defective, which she takes offensive to because, after all, her wish-granting record is perfect. Even though this version is told from Geppetto’s perspective, we still follow the familiar tale of Pinocchio’s adventures as he runs away from home and captured by the snake oil salesman of a puppet master, Stromboli, lured to Pleasure Island by Fox and Cat and the ne’er-do-well Lampwick, and washes up in the belly of a whale with Geppetto.

As Geppetto, Doug Lopachin, is not so much kindly and old as he is irritable, a little whiny and prone to temper tantrums. But in his quest to be a real dad to a real boy, he finds his fatherly side just in time for a sincere and sentimental “Since I Gave My Heart Away.”

Cooper Rodgers as Pinocchio is magical. The children in the opening night audience on Friday were mesmerized whenever he was onstage. Thanks to Tammy Spencer’s costuming, Rodgers looks like the real deal, like Pinocchio was leapt off the screen or off the pages of the book in bright colors and a big red bow tie. Pinocchio’s other talents don’t disappoint either, whether he’s singing “I’ve Got No Strings” or telling something that’s short on truth, but plain as the nose on his face.

As Fox and Cat, Greg Dulcie and Aubrey Adams give the show a shot of cartoon-like adrenaline and animation.

Christopher Deaton has great fun and bravado with Stromboli. He’s a walking Italian caricature with a show-stopping voice on “Bravo Stromboli.” Deaton and one of Stromboli’s puppets, Frank (short for Frankincense), almost walk away with the show with their clever bits and interactions.

There are some confusing elements in the staging. For instance, why does the Blue Fairy sing her opening number into an old radio broadcast microphone that she never uses again? Why does Geppetto ride a skateboard with plastic wheels in his quaint old toy shop? Why can’t the fairy just magically transport us back and forth in time without trotting out a “time machine” made up of children? And why do we need a light-up applause sign at all? Flashing it on during Arnold’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” interrupted her magical number unnecessarily.

If you’re not one to sweat the small stuff, there is more than enough to like about Disney’s My Son Pinocchio. The strong performances are enhanced by a charming toy shop set designed by Mark Halpin that makes the transformation to Stromboli’s, Pleasure Island and even the whale’s belly easily and believably. Sam Rushen adds lighting that evokes the dazzle audiences expect any time Disney’s name is on a production.

Even with the story shifted to Geppetto’s perspective, the kids will recognize it as the story of Pinocchio, who wanted desperately to be a real, live boy. They will delight in the characters and relish the magic of a Disney tale. There’s only one major character missing, Pinocchio’s conscience, Jiminy Cricket. Let’s just say he makes a cameo appearance and leave it at that. Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Nose It All
It's no lie: Casa Mañana's My Son Pinocchio is magical.
by Cathy O'Neal

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit