Imagination Stage’s ‘Lulu & the Brontosaurus’

“But Mr. B is going to be so sad,” cried my 4-year-old towards the end of Imagination Stage’s ‘Lulu & the Brontosaurus‘,  “he is going to be so lonely and sad,” she continued, with some tears moving down her sweet little cheeks.

Casie Platt as Lulu and Vaughn Irving as Mr. B's voice and puppeteer Photo credit:  Blake Echols / Imagination Stage

Casie Platt as Lulu and Vaughn Irving as Mr. B’s voice and puppeteer
Photo credit: Blake Echols / Imagination Stage

Well, that wasn’t the reaction I was expecting as we entered the theater but it said everything to me. ‘Lulu & the Brontosaurus’ takes even the youngest of theater-goers along a spectrum of emotions, most of them happy but some of them a little sad, as we watch Lulu evolve from a horrible, undisciplined, tantrum throwing preschooler into a sensitive and almost thoughtful and caring little girl.  In short it is a delightful, high energy, sweet musical based on the book, Lulu and the Brontosaurus, written by DC-based author Judith Viorst.

Regular readers of my theater reviews know that sometimes I am a little apprehensive about a play at the Imagination Stage for one reason – intermission and my 4-year-old. This is the second consecutive play we’ve seen at Imagination Stage that did not break for intermission and I cannot thank them enough for this change. I have no idea if it’s permanent but it radically changes our theater-going experience — for the better.  Thank you, Imagination Stage.

 Lulu (Casie Platt) throws a bit of a tantrum in LULU AND THE BRONTOSAURUS at Imagination Stage

Lulu (Casie Platt) throws a bit of a tantrum in LULU AND THE
BRONTOSAURUS at Imagination Stage Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

The star of the musical, Lulu, is the every-kid – to an extreme. Every parent in the room must have cringed at her tantrums and demands, starting with “I’m gonna gonna get, a Brontosaurus for a pet,” because we’ve all been there. We know her. She might not be quite as consistently horrible in our lives as Lulu seemed to be in the lives of her parents but that self-centered determination emerges from every 3 and 4-year-old child and we cringe and recoil, at times. The play is as much about Lulu’s transformation into a more decent human being, a transition I noticed as my own daughters moved further into their 4s, as it is about her finding that Brontosaurus that she so wants for her birthday and learning that sometimes, a gal can’t always get what she wants. No matter how hard she tries.

The set and costumes were as fundamental to the play as the talent of the actors. The puppetry behind Mr. B, the beloved

Snake (Vaughn Irving), Tiger (Tracey Stephens), and Bear (Doug Wilder) discuss what to do about Lulu in LULU AND THE BRONTOSAURUS at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

Snake (Vaughn Irving), Tiger (Tracey Stephens), and Bear (Doug
Wilder) discuss what to do about Lulu in LULU AND THE
BRONTOSAURUS at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

green gentle giant, was brilliantly executed and after the premiere, we were afforded the chance for a backstage tour, and we learned there are actually two Mr. B’s on either side of the stage, making that movement possible. On her way to find a Brontosaurus to be her pet, Lulu also comes across a snake, tiger and bear in the forest and the Tiger easily emerged as my favorite because of her sass and self-confidence, obviously.

Lulu & the Brontosaurus is billed as best for those ages 4-9 and I completely agree with this, my girls are 4 and 7 and they absolutely adored the show, as did me and Mr. WM. It was a fun-filled family outing and the girls have since asked multiple times to go back. When asking them if they would recommend it to their friends, the response I am given is a resounding YES and in case you were wondering, yes, my 4-year-old does want a Brontosaurus for a pet.

Be sure and catch “Lulu” at Imagination Stage before it wraps October 27. Tickets start at $12 and can be purchased online.

Disclosure: Imagination Stage invited me and my family to attend the press preview. My opinions here are all my own.

 

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