It’s hard to concentrate when there’s a rumbly in your tumbly. No one knows that better than Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh (“Kids” edition), getting a delightful staging by Casa Mañana Children’s Theatre through April 7.
Directed by Hans Meyer, with choreography by Jeremy Dumont and music direction by Sheilah Walker, this stage version is a blend of the classic tales of Christopher Robin and his best friend, Pooh, by A.A. Milne and Disney’s animated version. The musical’s book is by Cheryl Davis with music and lyrics by familiar Disney composers, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman with some help by Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Will Van Dyke.
All of the residents we know and love from the Hundred Acre Wood are there, singing and dancing, laughing, playing, hugging and problem-solving on a giant open storybook—just like a pop-up book that’s come to life. To quote Tigger, the show is “flouncy, bouncy, trouncy…fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!”
When we join our pals in the wood, there are some serious issues at hand. In addition to Pooh’s tummy troubles, Eeyore’s tail has gone missing, and Christopher Robin has been taken captive by the horrible Backson. There’s a narrator to help fill in the gaps as Pooh and the gang try to locate a suitable tail for Eeyore and save Christopher Robin.
Pooh, played by Stefanie Tovar, is sweet, cuddly and simple. Exactly what you want in a stuffed bear pal. Standout performances come from Greg Dulcie, the perpetually pessimistic Eeyore, Julia VanderVeen as the Owl with all the answers and the haughty attitude to match, and Scott Zenreich as Tigger, the ADD tiger with a springy tail and an endearing lisp.
Tammy Spencer pulls out all the stops—and the fur and feathers—to create full-body animal costumes with intricate face makeup. No suggested “ears and tails only” characters here.
The kids who are up on their Pooh will recognize the familiar Disney tunes, like “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers.”
Only one thing wasn’t quite right … after all the bouncy Disney songs, the show concluded with a snippet of Kenny Loggins’ “House at Pooh Corner.” It’s a perfectly wonderful song, it just didn’t fit the show. Silly old bear.