Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #55

Contents

LILLY’S NEW PURSE IS BEAUTIFUL

“RIVITING” MCFADDEN READS AT JAMAICAWAY BOOKS

OUTSTANDING ALBEE PLAYS

REMEMBERING BOSTON

SENIOR FILM IS SLEEPER HIT OF THE SEASON

FESTIVALS, FESTIVALS AND FESTIVALS

CHAN AND LI MAKE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM WORTH IT

THOUGHTS AND A LETTER FROM LIBBIE

UP-COMING EVENTS


LILLY’S NEW PURSE IS BEAUTIFUL

by Kay Bourne

(photo: DAN REULBACH as Wilson)

ff0ca28c50d7fd352a411a76df75b2f1.81.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #55“And! it’s made of plastic!” extols Lilly,gleefully showing off the purse her grammy bought her. But life for the spirited mouse has its limburger moments too, in the humorous play “LILLY’s PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE.”

There was a real life inspiration for the irrepressible Lilly, the “queen of the world,” as she describes herself in Wheelock Family Theater‘s humorous and heartwarming Equity production currently underway at 200 The Riverway, Boston through MAY 11. For info on tickets and times, you can click here or phone 617-879-2300.

Picture book author Kevin Henkes was waiting in an airport when he noticed a little girl sporting a plastic purple purse that played music when opened, along with movie star sunglasses studded with rhinestones and hung on a chain. Here were the perfect accessories to Henkes‘ mouse heroine Lilly’s trademark red boots and a crown familiar to readers of the popular children’s book “Julius, the Baby of the World.” As soon as Henkes got on the plane be began writing the sequel, which together with the story of Lilly coping with a baby brother make up the story-line for the enchanting visit to Henkes Mousedom (whose inhabitants can also be found in his picture book “Chester’s Way.”) The books – and there are six other in the series featuring the mice who bear a remarkable likeness to children at about age six or so – were adapted for the stage by Kevin Kling.

James P. Byrne has directed “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” with a playfulness that appeals to both the children and adults in the audience who noticeably enjoy sharing with each other that they get the funny bits. There’s never a dull moment in this outstanding production.

Katherine Leigh Doherty, a local 8th grader, who last season originated the role of Jane Banks in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Mary Poppins” is perfect as the high octane Lilly, who’s a handful but charming too. Thanks to costume designer Melissa Miller the rambunctious mouse looks exactly as children will have imagined her from the books; the other characters are equally apt.

Her next door neighbors and friends, “we’re like three peas in a pod,” are so idiosyncratically played by Shelley Bolman and Dan Reulbach they are as fascinating as the more outlandish Lilly. Although Gary Thomas Ng, as the infant Julius, who oblivious to Lilly’s insults to him, has no lines to say, his near manic goos and gurgles will give you a fit of the giggles. Doug Lockwood is excellent as the hip first grade teacher beloved by his students who greets the class with “howdy,” not hello, and asks them to rearrange the chairs from the staid classroom arrangement of rows: “Do you think you rodents can handle a semicircle?”

The diminutive Sirena Abalian who played the plaintive Roo in Wheelock Family Theater’s recent production of “Winnie-the-Pooh”, this time maneuvers on a walker as Grammy escorting Lilly on a shopping spree. Also endearing are Gamalia Pharms and Dan Bolton as Lilly’s parents, Talia Weingarten as Lilly’s rather prissy cousin, and W. Yvonne Murphy who has set a tradition at Wheelock of making the most out of a small role and again hits the mark variously as a bully, a classmate, and a high toned store clerk. Set Designer Matthew T. Lazure has constructed a little village architecturally inspired by a mouse’s favorite food.

Official Site of the Wheelock Family Theater


“RIVITING” MCFADDEN READS AT JAMAICAWAY BOOKS

by Kay Bourne

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