DISNEY’S 101 DALMATIANS, KIDS opened this week at the Moorestown Theatre Company and I am sure I was seeing spots. Loosely following the Disney movie storyline, Dalmatian puppies are stolen from their London home by the evil Cruella de Vil , played by Samantha Spirt, who plans to make a fur coat out of them. Canine parents Pongo and Perdita (Emma Mueller and Ethan Zeligson) have to enlist the help of the London dogs via the midnight bark gossip chain to locate and rescue the pups along with many more.
This production by the Moorestown Theatre Company was performed by a large cast of children who seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. The cast ranged in ages from kindergarten through 7th grade with the majority being in 3rd through 5th grade. That being said, for the ages of the cast, the production was well done. A few standout performances include Jilly Pizzi and Rehana Wells as the French poodles who were hysterical with their French accents and excellent singing voices. Also of note was a fabulous performance by Alex Zambrano as Roger who was stellar with his “Cruella de Vil”. Kudos also to young Juliet Morgan who not only sparkled in her cameo performance of Thunderbolt, but led the entire cast in choreography from the balcony. This reviewer’s favorite was a young Dalmatian puppy by the name of Amanda Butler who was so animated she practically jumped off the stage. I look forward to seeing what this young lady does in the future.
While the youth component of the show was fabulous, the adult production qualities were not. The production suffered several technical difficulties throughout the performance with the Power Point slide show. Scene changes were unbearably long. The cast seemed to have a struggle syncing with the monitors providing the canned music, and were often several beats off. Vocally, the cast was right on target and, when they were with the music, the ensemble sounded great. The direction was bland; with the cast often just standing still to sing their songs, reminding one of a choir concert rather than a stage production. Yes, the cast is very young, but there is so much talent and incredible potential in these kids that MTC could push them harder to excel. These kids deserve to show us that they are very capable of handling and delivering more.
Overall the audience, mostly friends and family members of the cast, loved the show. My own two pint sized reviewers ages 8 and 5 also loved the evening. Moorestown Theater Company is to be commended for providing a strong educational theatre program, building future young stars and young audiences. Future shows on the schedule for this year include BYE BYE BIRDIE July 18-27, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE November 15-23 and WILLY WONKA JR. December 6-14. In addition, Moorestown Theater Company offers a Summer Stage Program, acting and singing classes. For more information call 856-778-8357 or email info@MoorestownTheaterCompany.org.
DISNEY’S 101 DALMATIANS, KIDS
Music & Lyrics by Mel Leven, Randy Rogel, Richard Gibbs, Brian Smith, Martin Lee Fuller & Dan Root
Book Adapted by Marcy Heisler
Music Adapted & Arranged by Bryan Louiselle
Directed by Ashley Brimfield
May 9-11, 2013
Moorestown Theater Company
Hope Community Church
235 West Main Street