Alexander and the Terrible,
Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Written by Judith Viorst and Shelly Markham
If only we all had bad days like Alexander’s…
|Emerald City Theatre presents|
|Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day
Review by Melody Udell
Alexander is having one of those days. Well, one of those days in the eyes of an 8-year-old. He wakes up with gum in his hair, his best friends abandon him on the playground and his mom forgets to put dessert in his lunch box. The only solution, of course, is to pack up and move to Australia.
Based on this premise, Emerald City Theatre’s staged premiere of the popular children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, makes an adorable family musical. Larger-than-life actors dance and sing onstage and up the aisles, keeping an audience of the mostly 10-and-under set in rapt attention. The actor playing Alexander, Mark Kosten, is perfectly cast; he’s buoyant and relatable, with plenty of boyish charm. Alex Heika (Nick) and RJ Silva (Anthony) embody bullying big brothers with ease, a notion many kids in the audience are certainly familiar with. And there are even a few nods to the outnumbered adults in the audience; Michael Rashid as Alexander’s comically apathetic dad won’t go unappreciated by parents.
Shea Coffman’s geometric set is goofy and simple, and it works well to keep up the silly tone of the musical. The large plywood shapes become dentist’s chairs, beds, desks and classroom tables, easily relying on imagination to fill in the rest. The actors, too, do their part to aid in the set design, becoming rows of shoes in a shoe store or a high-tech copy machine.
Alexander and his friends sing their way through the day’s problems, with charming lyrics (Judith Viorst) and music (Shelly Markham), plus quirky choreography by the show’s director, Ernie Nolan. The sweet ensemble works hard while managing to have fun at the same time. (You wouldn’t be able to convince an audience full of kids otherwise.)
And as an added bonus, families that show up early can take part in the Emerald City Theatre’s pre-show craft activity. Alexander is a cute way to introduce kids to the theater without the hassle and commitment of a bigger production.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day continues through June 17th at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln (map). Tickets are $13-$16, and are available by phone (773-935-6100) or online at ticketmaster.com. More information at emeraldcitytheatre.com. (Running time: 60 minutes with no intermission)
All photos by Tom McGrath
Mark Kosten (Alexander); Tommy Bullington (Paul, Dr. Fields); Alex Heika (Nick, Albert); Maddy LaRoche (Audrey); Patricia Lavery (Mom, Mrs. Dickens); Michael Rashid (Dad, Shoe Salesman); RJ Silva (Anthony, Becky); Jonathan Shroelucke (Philip)
behind the scenes
Judith Viorst (book, lyrics); Shelly Markham (music); Ernie Nolan (director, choreographer), Navi Afshar (stage manager); Shea Coffman (set); Christian Gero (sound); Jeff Glass (lighting); Marta Johnson (music director); DJ Reed (props), Nathan Rhorer (costumes); Tom McGrath (photos)