If you have young kids you know that they’re not always rational in their way of thinking. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do when it comes to logic so when your child tells you there’s a monster in his closet, telling him monsters don’t exist might not help at all. We have to let kids confront their feelings, even if they’re irrational, and the musical Wanda’s Monster deals precisely with this issue.
Based on the children’s book by the same name (written by Eileen Spinelli), Wanda’s Monster is about a young girl who thinks there’s a monster in her closet. Her older 8-year-old brother tries to speak to her rationally and explains that monsters don’t exist. Her grandmother (who looks like a rocker and sings in her own band) tells Wanda that monsters are shy. Wanda slowly overcomes her fear and develops a friendship with the monster.
I recently saw the show with my kids and loved the poignant story, the top-notch performance and the music. Laura Hankin, who plays Wanda, has a very sweet voice – perfect for musicals! She could play all of the Disney princesses but she was fantastic in her portrayal as a little girl who’s not sure what to believe in. James M. Ortiz was adorable as the monster and very likable and cuddly (although my 4-year-old, as always, was a little afraid of him). The book was written by Barbara Zinn Krieger, founder of “Making Books Sing” – the only theater company of its kind dedicated to combining literacy with performing arts by creating professional theater works based on contemporary children’s books from diverse cultures.
The music was a lot of fun! Award-winning children’s recording artist Laurie Berkner proved, once again, she has a knack for understanding what children love and some of her songs (“Monster Boogie” and “Wanda, Whatcha Wanna Do”) were huge hits with the audience who were encouraged to participate throughout the show. The catchy tunes and the interactive show had everyone on their feet and when we left the theater we were still humming “Monster Boogie” to ourselves.
When: Through September 8, 2013
Thursdays & Fridays: 10:30am; Saturdays: 10:30am & 2:00pm; Sundays: 12:30pm & 3:00pm.
Where: The Vineyard’s Dimson Theater
108 East 15th Street, New York, NY
Price: $39 per ticket. $65 for premium seating (plus Laurie Berkner CD & show poster)
Use code PPSAVE for 25% off.
Photos by Peter James Zielinski
I was not compensated for this post. I received complimentary tickets.