Monday, February 27, 2012

Show & Tell Review: Clifford The Big Red Dog - LIVE!

Clifford The Big Red Dog – LIVE! opened a storybook onto the stage of the Fox Cities P.A.C. and invited the audience to jump on in.

Emily Elizabeth and her big red dog Clifford sang and danced their way into the hearts of this mother’s two young daughters with the aid of brilliant set and lighting design.

The home of Emily and her family was vibrantly and playfully colored like the page in a child’s coloring book – or simply the world as seen through the eyes of a young girl who hopes for nothing more than a dog as her new best friend.

With a multi-talented touring cast of artists playing numerous roles, this show’s artistic triumphs include creating Emily Elizabeth’s world as it would appear to her and to her audience – including my theater companions, my four and three-year-old daughters.

“Her bed has wheels!,” exclaimed one daughter as the other was too transfixed on the luminous lighting design of the scene changes to say a word.

Notable to creating the world of Clifford was the Clifford suit and puppet design by The Puppet Kitchen. Clifford’s love for his new family was felt with every true-to-life scratch and sneeze. The two-man costume created the spring in the step only a new puppy has – even if he is the world’s most giant family pet.

“He’s bigger than even the daddy!,” explained my three-year-old upon witnessing Clifford’s overnight growth spurt.

Clifford The Big Red Dog – LIVE! was an excellent choice as a first staged musical for a four and three-year-old. Appropriate in length, lesson and theatrical wonder, this show stayed true to the Clifford books and movies while finding innovative and creative ways to introduce children to the wonder that is the live performing arts.

During this performance of Clifford The Big Red Dog – LIVE! I saw a marvelous family musical on the stage and witnessed two of my children falling in love for the first time – with the theater.

“I’m clapping so hard,” my four-year old whispered. “I just can’t clap any harder!”

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