Friday, February 14, 2014

Respect, honor and cheese for all! ANATOLE Preview

by Amanda Corazzi

First Stage is proud and excited to be bringing ANATOLE to the stage for the first time! Based on the beloved series of stories by Eve Titus, this world première musical tells the story of the brave mouse Anatole as he saves a cheese factory, restores his family’s honor, conquers a cat and truly becomes a Mouse Magnifique! 

Director and Choreographer Molly Rhode talks about the
 book series during the Meet and Greet. 
The series of 10 books follow the life of Anatole as he goes on adventures around France. Eve Titus and Illustrator Paul Galdone were nominated for the Caldecott Medals for Anatole and Anatole and the Cat. The books were later named Caldecott Honor books in 1971.

The books and lyrics for this new show were written by Lee Becker and First Stage Associate Artistic Director John Maclay. They kept in mind First Stage’s young audience when adapting the show for First Stage. 

“At its heart ANATOLE is a story about family, doing the right thing and living an honorable life. The journey that Anatole (played by Gerard Neugent) takes allows for excessive humor and laughs,” Maclay said. “The humor and silliness will not only appeal to our youngest audience members, but will entertain the entire family.”

The lively musical numbers, with compositions by James Valcq featuring arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Splain, set the tone for this story. Splain based some of the arrangements off French style music and hopes the music will transport you to the world of Anatole. 

Set design by Brandon Kirkham 

Anatole Illustrator Paul Galdone used a color scheme of blue, red and white, based off colors of the French flag, to design the world of Anatole. Set Designer Brandon Kirkham kept true to these illustrations when designing the set. The set features a moving turntable, hidden doors and even a mouse trap! The set is not the only thing French inspired. The costumes, designed by Alison Siple, are all based on the French colors and styles. 

Costume Rendering by Alison Siple 

Should be très magnifique musicale!

ANATOLE opens February 21 and runs through March 16 at the Todd Wehr Theater. 

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