“You’re never too old for snow,” beamed Peter “The Great,” in Adventure Theatre’s new musical production of The Snowy Day based on the Caldecott Award Winning book by Ezra Jack Keats. And there couldn’t have been truer words than on Saturday, the first snowy day of the winter, when we attended this magical performance. My girls were beaming with excitement was we hustled through Glen Echo Park and they stomped through slushy snow and squealed the entire way to the front door.
Peter the Great, played by Alan Wiggins, does an outstanding job of genuinely exuding the youthful thrill over a first snow that only a kid can feel. And what is captured so well by the supporting cast of the musical is how every one of us truly delights in snow, regardless of age, along with watching our children enjoy it for the very first time. Personally, I absolutely loved the bright red snow suit Peter wears, identical to the one in the book, because its bright color really stands out beautifully against the urban back drop of the set and the magical, glistening snow, who also play a role in the musical. Harold the Snowman, Roberta the Crow and George the Pirate serve as excellent supporting characters to Peter. As the mother of an avid-pirate-loving three-year-old girl, just the pirate hat resting on Peter’s bed before the play even began served as enough to keep her attention but then the actual presence of a “snow pirate” – who even knew there were snow pirates – delighted her more than I can explain.
As the musical continues with Peter playfully experiencing his first snow, he happens upon Harold, the leg-less Snowman determined to get to the North Pole to avoid melting. Peter soon delivered my favorite line of the musical as he explains he can’t travel to the North Pole with Harold because he can’t travel beyond his block, as directed by his mother. The snowman asks “What’s a mom?” and Peter dead pans “Someone you don’t want to mess with.”
Loved it. That’s about right. Someone you don’t mess with, kids. And husbands….
The two soon embark upon an adventure that at times, feels a bit like the Wizard of Oz, each character challenging their own perceived limitations, as they befriend Roberta, the very colorful and bright Crow. Roberta is trying to head South, though she can’t fly, and Harold needs to head North, though he’s just gotten legs thanks to Peter’s industrious thinking to make them for him. In the end, ironically, it is George the Pirate who helps Harold reach his destination. The singing and dancing are well choreographed and interspersed in nicely to break up the dialogue and keep the younger kids’ attention. The addition of the snow as a supporting character was a really unexpected, and fitting twist, and is part of a final surprise for the entire audience at the end of the play. I can’t spoil it for you, of course! But rest assured, the children will love it.
Directed by Jessica Burgess with music and lyrics by Howard University’s Darius Smith, this show is the second of Adventure Theatre’s African American Adventures Series, a series of five world-premiere musicals based on the African-American experience written by African-American artists. Tickets are $18 each, with group and field trip rates available, and can be purchased through the box office by calling 301-634-2270 or online at www.adventuretheatre.org. Children under the age of 1 are free. My three-year-old was very interested in the musical, which lasts just under an hour, though I would be hard pressed to want to bring a child younger than three to see it. My six-year-old asked to go again as soon as we left the theatre.
The Snowy Day just opened this past weekend and runs through February 12, so hurry up and purchase your tickets while they’re still available. Beyond a delightful way to spend an hour, it’s another great indoor activity for these cold winter weekends.
This just in – Adventure Theatre has added the following performances:
Sunday, January 29th at 4:30pm
Friday, February 3rd at 7:00pm
Sunday, February 5th at 4:30pm
Friday, February 10th at 7:00pm
Sunday, February 12th at 4:30pm
Disclosure: Adventure Theatre gifted me the tickets but my opinions here are my own.