“It’s funny! Really funny!”
That’s my 10-year-old’s review of “Corduroy” at the Children’s Theatre Company after we attended opening night. It runs March 6th through May 20th.
Corduroy is based on the children’s book by Don Freeman, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. I’ve read the book to my kids many times as it’s a favorite with my kids as it was with me!
A couple weeks prior to opening night, my kids and I attended a special event for influencers. During this event we saw some of the props (like the toilet paper tower that Corduroy climbs in the show – wow that thing is built strong) and we watched 30 minutes of a rehearsal with all the characters, including Reed Sigmund (as the Night Watchman) and Dean Holt (as Corduroy). It was so much fun and we laughed so much we knew we had to see the show after it opened!
At the performance, not only did we have great seats (row C in the Cargill Stage theatre!) but we sat next to Peter C. Brosius, Children’s Theatre Company’s Artistic Director since 1997. Peter is known as a visionary and leader in American theater with his many innovative ideas and constant drive to make something – a scene or a song – the best it can be.
We chatted about “Corduroy” and the whirlwind the 2 days before opening night were. Not only did he injure his foot and have to be in the ER until 2am the night before opening night, but Reed Sigmund, playing the Night Watchman, reinjured his hand just hours before showtime. His understudy, Dwight Leslie, took on the role last-minute, but he had his own role to play. He was the Scarecrow in “The Wiz” which was playing on the United Health Stage, so Dwight’s understudy was called in to cover for him.
A lot of last-minute changes! But opening night was FABULOUS, and they pulled it off expertly. No one would have suspected the changes if it hadn’t been announced, but it was sad to hear that Reed was hurt and couldn’t be there. However, I’ve learned since that he is expected to return as early as the second weekend.
One of the highlights of Corduroy was seeing the debut of Ileri Okikiolu, who played Lisa. She was so full of energy and passion throughout the show as her character tried to earn an advance on her allowance so she could buy her beloved bear. The delightful joy that she showed was infectious, and her heartfelt sadness made me choke back tears at one point. I hope she is cast in many more roles!
A character getting a lot of laughs was The Night Watchman, who keeps getting deceived by Corduroy. The stuffed bear keeps appearing in the department store but The Night Watchman always finds him as an innocent stuffed bear. When the Night Watchman is gone though, Corduroy comes to life as Dean Holt, and continues his search for his overalls’ missing button. But he leaves messes all over the department store, which leaves The Night Watchman befuddled.
There was a lot of movement and action throughout the show, making it ideal for younger kids. The two “mannequins” (below) double up as stage crew members who change the scenery right in front of the audience, as part of the show. There are some really funny touches, too, including a vacuum cleaner that chases the actors. All the activity is really quite cute, and it’s really fun how they handle the intermission.
The whole production is played by only a handful of actors, but it’s fun and captivating from beginning to end. It’s such a touching story about friendship. To me and my kids, the book is great, but the live production here at CTC is SO much better than the book.
In fact, this production is a world premiere – it’s the first time it’s ever been performed in the entire world! So don’t miss your chance to see it!
The production is 1.5 hours with intermission.
The shows are now through May 20th.
ASL/AD Performance: April 6 at 7pm
Sensory Friendly Performance: May 11 at 7pm
Buy the book!
(Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets for this production and this post contains affiliate links. However, all opinions are 100% mine.)