It is becoming trickier and trickier to entice my previously theatre-enthused nine-year-old son in attending a weekend play or musical with Mom. But all I had to say were two words, BIG NATE, and Charlie was totally into it. He loves this series of New York Times best-selling comic book compilations about a troublesome but loveable, cartoon-drawing-drums-playing tween. Christopher Youstra and Jason Loewith have excellently adapted Big Nate for the stage.
So Charlie’s new, cool guy persona is what brought him through the doors of the Adventure Theatre Musical Theatre Center this past weekend…
But Big Nate’s production quality, actors and storytelling fully reactivated Charlie’s love of the theatre.
Yes! 2 points to Director Michael Baron. Thank you.
Nine-year-old Charlie, seven-year-old Eve and I attended this children’s musical Saturday and all three of us were enraptured. The cast is top notch. Led by the unbelievably charismatic Sam Ludwig as the title character, it is impossible not to fall a little in love with his zany, joyous portrayal of the detention-prone Renaissance Man. Well, unless you are Jenny, the sweet blonde dope of a junior high character who can’t see the awesome that is in front of her eye lashes and instead bats them at blandly nice Artur, an exchange student from Belarus. (Note to fictional Jenny: Don’t wait until you are 32 to realize it is the Nates of the world who rule the hot.)
But I digress.
Parents and children alike will love the humor, the catchy songs, and the Adventure Theatre’s patented style of cast members playing multiple parts and creative use of the compact set. The actors’ voices and choreography are of the highest quality. I heard one mother on the walk behind us to the parking lot liken Big Nate to “Rent for kids.” Hmmm. I think it was more You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, but I agree that it was totally enjoyable.
Just as I enjoyed bringing my toddler Alice to the perfect-for-her-age Winnie the Pooh earlier this season, and introducing my first grade daughter to the world of Laura Ingalls with A Little House Christmas, it was fabulous to be able to bring my third grade son to a play that evokes his daily life as a student. Charlie completely connected with it and had a spring in his step for the rest of the day, even goofing along with me as we danced Singin’ in the Rain-style with our umbrellas after the show.
Tell me, will you get that kind of reaction from a nine-year-old after Iron Man 3? I think not.
The play is great for kids age kindergarten through middle school, and high school theatre kids will dig it too.
The only downside to Big Nate is that there are only a few performances left! Get your tickets before the show closes on Sunday June 2. Note that there are special Monday performances on Memorial Day.
Thank you to the Adventure Theatre MCT for providing media passes for my family and me. No additional compensation was received. I take responsibility for all opinions and dorking out. Photo credit Bruce Douglas for Adventure Theatre.