“The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog” Entertains All Ages

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“The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog” Entertains All Ages

By Mara Shapiro

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Students, parents, teachers, and little kids are chattering in the Robert L. Johnson Auditorium, waiting for the lights to dim and the familiar sound of theatre director Andrew Sinclair giving instructions regarding electronics and flash photography.  The audience is  looking forward to the world premiere of “The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog.”

PLOT SUMMARY

To start off the musical, an army of red ants marched onto the stage to introduce the story. The Red Ant Army Narrators (freshman Thea Gonzales, sophomores Sherlina Chauhan and Andre Eramia, and junior Surdeep Chauhan) provided the background information. On the land of Treble Clef Island, a frog named Freddie (junior Cameron Broderick) lives with his parents (seniors Merrick McWherter and Rudy Newman.) Treble Clef Island dwellers are experiencing problems with food, and therefore Freddie’s parents have to search for food and leave Freddie home alone.

Prior to the story truly beginning, the Ant Narrators explained their first activity for audience interaction: a mirror game. The Narrators would move their arms and the audience would have to mirror the motions; the little kids and parents adored this. Once this was over, the musical began.

Freddie is distraught over his parents leaving. He is all alone at home when he suddenly hears loud thumps. He decides to go check out the noises. It turns out the noises were made by Eli the Elephant (senior Alex Wood.) It turned out that Eli’s parents were also foraging for food, so Freddie and Eli became fast friends. Once both sets of parents meet in a picnic, it is decided that the boys will stay with one another when their parents are away. Other adventures of Freddie include him being attacked by a giant crocodile head (Broderick’s facial expressions were hilarious,) a scary dream that involved the Bass Clef Monster, crossing a river on a raft with Eli and blue beetles, and my personal favorite, an adventure in the city with a bunch of scatting cats. I really loved when Freddie met a French bee (senior Emma Zivkovic) as well.  Her French accent was cute and made the little kids laugh.

OVERALL

“The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog” is definitely a success. I loved that the audience was able to interact with the actors, like the mirror activity or through the “hokey pokey.” As promised, audience members did learn about the musical notes on the staff in a unique way. While a story was being told, Ant Army helpers would put letters and notes on two boards and staffs placed off to the side of the stage. After the story was done, a question would be asked like “Who lived on this side of the island?” And the kids would yell “Freddie” and that signified the F being at the top of the staff. It was also nice to go back to the “tee-tees and tahs” from music classes in middle school.

The outfits were phenomenal. Wood wore a silver one-piece with a giant bespectacled elephant face coming out of the top. To top that off, a wheeled contraption was attached to his back to create the illusion of Wood having four legs. Besides Wood’s elephant, I really loved the cats’ outfits. They were all unique in their own ways. The set was eye-pleasing and perfect for little kids. The crocodile head and the explosion of confetti when a whale tooted its blow horn really caught everyone’s attention.

The music from the pit fit with each song and got everyone to sing and clap, plus I loved the cute bug hats the pit members were wearing.

Broderick and Wood were fantastic. Broderick really became an actor for children in this show. He was very energetic and made the best expressions. This is what I love about Niles West Theatre: the versatility. The actors can  be murderers in one play, and giant elephants in the next. Overall, fantastic job to the actors, crew, pit members, and Sinclair. I’m looking forward to the next show!