Saturday, October 19, 2013

REVIEWS:" Pinkalicious" and "How I Became a Pirate" Presented by Rising Star Productions

Longview's Rising Star Productions offers up a couple of kid-friendly shows this Halloween season for your enjoyment. Both shows, "Pinkalicious" and "How I Became a Pirate," are musicals based on two very popular children's picture books. Both, directed well by Jueanne Meyers, run again next weekend (October 25 and 26). Laurel Moore was the vocal director and Meyers the costumer for both shows.

"Pink" plays both evenings at 7:30 and "Pirates" plays the Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. This weekend's showings were the other way around. So, basically, you have one chance left to catch "Pirates" and two for "Pink."

"Pinkalicious" is decidedly for girls. Pinkalicious is a little girl who loves pink so much that she develops a serious case of pinkatitus. The book on which the musical is based, is the first in a growing series by Victoria Kann  and Elizabeth Kann.

50 Shades of Pink

The house was nearly full; over half the seats were filled with little girls dressed in various hues of pink. There were  several moms and some grandparents, maybe a dozen guys (no boys). As an adult male I was sorta expecting not to like this much. And honestly, to me, it was quite silly, but still entertaining because the songs were so well written and Rose Graff was truly amazing in the lead.And the audience ate the show up like pink cupcakes.

The cast all sang well enough with Rose Graff (as Pinkaliciuos) shinning above the rest. She sang quite well (especially for her age), though had some trouble, from time to time, with the higher registers. Her acting and enthusiasm was top notch.

Additionally, Jeffrey Meyers played Peter (her brother), Mayci Bloomfeldt played Alison (her best friend), Greg Moore and Laurel Moore played her parents (a bit old for the parts) and Stephanie Biwer played Dr. Wink with a very nice song and dance.

There was also an array of cute dancing cupcakes, birds, bees and butterflies. The choreography, by Kristy Larson, was well designed, but under-executed for the most part--lacking snap--but, then, most were young girls. The cast also danced, but only Biwer and Graff were really in the pink.

Production Notes:

The sets were good, with a book page background that turned with the scenes. However, I felt I spent about half of the one hour showtime waiting in the dark for sets to be changed. The audio was generally good, though, at times, it was hard to hear plucky, young Meyers. Accompaniment was provided by a nicely scored track. Costumes were cool (well, with a lot of hot pink).

Lighting, which was okay, could have been designed better. Since it was a musical, and, at that, one about all things pink, the lighting should have been gelled with no color pink (Rosco #33). Some no color blue and an additional spot over the bed in the bedroom would have improved the look of those scenes as well.

None-the-less, as stated, the audience of little girls loved the show. After all, "you get what you get and you don't get upset" and it is a show for them. The songs, music by John Gregor and lyrics by Gregor and the authors, were very catchy and creative. I especially liked "Buzz Off" and "Green Food."

"Pirates" is somewhat of a boy's tale, but girls may like it too. In the story, Jeremy Jacobs is minding his own business on the beach when suddenly a group of lost pirates turns up and recruits him to help them dig for buried treasure. The book, by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon, is also a big seller and is being serialized as well. The show's book, music and lyrics were adapted by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman.

On the Deep Blue Sea

The boys came out for this one and there weren't so many girls in the audience. They were all on stage! I guess it may have been a tad hard to find young guys for the cast--most of the pirates were gals. Which was funny, when Kylee Hoffman sings "I'm Really Just a Sensitive Guy."

So, the cast consists of Sam Larson as Jeremy Jacob, and the pirates: Stephanie Biwer as Capt. Braid, Alex Wallis as Swill, Kylee Hoffman as Sharktooth, Erik Rentner as Pierre, Natalie Ransom as Max, Gina Moore as Scurvy Dog and Kari Pierce as First Mate Seymour Braunschwagger. Hope Bernhardt, CeCe Elkinton and Jeffrey Meyers round out the unnamed pirate crew.

Most of the songs are delivered by the ensemble though Larson, Hoffman, Wallis and Ransom sing brief solos. All did well though Larson was a bit quiet and shaky at times. This is one of those shows where an adult part is written in to lead the cast of youngsters. That role fell to Biwer who truly seemed to be enjoying herself as the flamboyant and kooky pirate captain. She sings and dances well, has good comic timing (and reminds me of my sister Suzi, but who cares).

Also worthy of mention was the fun French accent by Erik Rentner as the ship's cook Pierre and Alex Wallis' wonderful singing. I would like to see him do more.

Production Notes:

The tunes borrowed heavily from everything nautical and seafaring--Gilbert and Sullivan to Gilligan's Island. Lyrically the were mostly okay (frankly, "Pinkalicious" was better written). Greg Moore provided the keyboard accompaniment.

The show was again choreographed by Kristy Larson, but lacked the spark and ambition there was in "Pink." However, the steps seemed easier and were better executed. The backdrops utilized the same technique as described for "Pink." There were fewer set changes so the show seemed to move faster.

Lighting was virtually unchanged from the previous show. Some blues would have been nice. This was cornier than "Pink" and many of the jokes fell flat. Adults, who got them, mostly groaned inside, and the kids didn't get them at all. There were a few laughs from the lines (though Biwer's antics garnered many). It just wasn't all that well written. "Pink" was funner and funnier, in my opinion.

Best songs were "Green Teeth" and "Where Do We Bury the Treasure?" though I also enjoyed "Read the Map" (with solo by Wallis). I did not understand the relevancy of the song "Soccer By the Rules." The show runs about an hour, in two acts with an unnecessary 15 minute intermission added on.

For more information on either show and tickets: ($5 for kids 12 and under, $8 for seniors and $10 for adults) visit RSP's website. The productions are being shown at RSP's theater located in Kelso's Three Rivers Mall.

Reviews by Gregory E. Zschomler.


  1. Of course I was (at 66, with virtually no acting experience and hadn't danced since Junior Cotillion) too old to be Pinkalicious' dad, but the joy of helping kids bring the fantasy of this silly story to life was worth every terrifying moment, and why I love community theatre. - Greg Moore (Mr. Pinkerton)

  2. LOL Mr. Moore, Yes, maybe a bit old to be the parent of such a youngun, but NEVER too old to pick up the terrifying hobby of acting. You did a fine job (and thanks for encouraging the kids), keep it up! See you next time.~ the other Greg