Wednesday, February 20, 2013

PREVIEW: First Stage presents Milwaukee's PINKALICIOUS Phenomenon

By: Peggy Sue Dunigan 
What do they call a fascination with all things pink and Pinkalicious Pinkerton?: A pinkalicious phenomenon. The little girl named Pinkalicious loves the color pink along with her younger brother Peter Pinkerton.  Both children were a figment of Victoria Kann’s imagination, the author who developed the New York Times best selling picture book series together with her sister and pediatrician Elizabeth Kann. Victoria also co-wrote the Broadway show, Pinkalicious The Musical that charmed audiences of all ages. On February 22, a children’s version titled Pinkalicious The Musical arrives at First Stage to bring the extravagantly sweet tale to life in Milwaukee.
Jason Coale's fantastical set design.
Director for the First Stage musical John Maclay enthusiastically chatted about the Pinkalicious phenomenon for the contemporary younger set. Kann’s book series explores the color world through all the senses with touches of exaggerated scenery, sparkling magic and fantastical storytelling. Which Maclay describes as a delicious opportunity to stage a musical on a big, bold set where the characters suspend reality and can be colored, of course, in pink. “Her brother Peter also likes pink,” Maclay explained, “Which his father tells him is an absolute no for boys.”
 
“The stage story revolves around this close brother and sister relationship between Pinkalicious and Peter,” Maclay commented. “The storytelling is then really driven by the music. There are at least a dozen musical numbers, so the whole show moves very quickly.” Maclay adds.  Milwaukee’s Jamie Johns directs the score, while Chicago’s Jessica Redish choreographed the numbers, which includes a frosting covered chorus line of dancing cupcakes.
 
Does the Pinkalicious production go slightly over the top? Maclay resoundingly answers yes, and all with great fun because the rules of reality rarely apply in this show. Newcomer Jason Coale needed to find that hyper realism in a set designed with a pink doily backdrop accented by purple and green floors. Costume Designer Alison Siple discovered how to make the main character turn completely pink when she gorges on cupcakes—and keeps on eating them even when her doctor tells her no, she has pinkititis! And so mounds of pink, whether bubble gum pink, cotton candy pink or creamy frosting pink hues will cover the stage.
 
While solving this problem of eating too many pink cupcakes and enjoying too much pink, Pinkalicious and Peter learn a child can like any color they please; with some necessary moderation. Pink is after all just a color and anyone can like a color. And any child can understand as the Pinkertons do and Maclay says, “To be the best version of who they really are.”
 
With these themes underscoring the brilliantly colored scenes, First Stage’s Pinkalicious sings a story for every boy or girl, every family whose child might wish to overindulge or choose to be slightly unique. A musical production for those who approve only of having delightful fun with lyrics, dance and color, especially pink, or enjoying cupcakes that will be sold during the intermissions at the performances. Maclay adds that tickets were selling fast because the popular books really have become a phenomenon. And to close the discussion on the “pink” phenomenon, Maclay finishes the conversation with this worthy comment: “I was proud to direct a play my seven year old son thinks is really funny.”


PINKALICIOUS THE MUSICAL runs from February 22 through March 24, 2013 at the Todd Wehr Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
For more Milwaukee theater reviews and news, visit Peggy Sue Dunigan's blog
 

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