Saturday, January 26, 2013

Buon Giorno, Pinocchio!

By Blogger Charles "Ebbie" Alfree, III

Tom Marshall converts the Delaware Children's Theatre (DCT) into a whimsical 19th century Italian village where a marionette-maker designs a puppet that eventually becomes human.

For 40 years, DCT has produced family-friendly musicals based on beloved children stories and nursery rhymes, and they continue the tradition with their current production of Pinocchio. The boisterous production is cheerful and bright - perfect for children of all ages!

The show opens with our narrator for the afternoon, Antonio (Andrew Stewart), a cabinet-maker in the Italian village who leads the cast in a rousing opening number. Antonio's shop is across the street from the puppet-maker, Geppetto's (Tripp Ivie) store. Geppetto has recently completed his first life-like puppet, Pinocchio (Will Rotsch). Wishing he had a child, Geppetto treats his human-like puppet as his son.

One day the Blue Fairy (Mary Spacht), disguised as a peasant girl, walks by Geppetto's store asking for bread, instead of acknowledging her request, the extremely generous Geppetto gives her five gold pieces so she can buy bread and additional food. Because of his kindness, the Blue Fairy grants Geppetto's wish and transforms Pinocchio into an "almost" little boy! Although he can walk and speak, he's still made out of wood.

Like every little boy, Pinocchio needs to learn responsibility and respect for his father, but like most children, Pinocchio disobeys and we all know what happens when he lies! Pinocchio's actions lead him to a troubled adventure, from skipping school with The Bad Boy Gang to traveling to the mysterious Land of the Toys and from being conned by the fox, Signore Valpone (Dan Healy), and the cat, Signori Gatta (Lynne Lew) to being swallowed by a whale.

The production is delightful with a storybookesque set by David Schuh and colorful costumes by Carolyn Czipoth. The cast sparkles; I particularly enjoyed their Italian accents! Mr. Rostch is superb as Pinocchio. He perfected the movements of a puppet, clunky walking at the end of strings to being limp. It's most impressive to see a young man, as Mr. Rostch, carry a show with great charisma and showmanship. Both Mr. Ivie as Geppetto and Mr. Stewart as Antionio delight the audience with stirring performances. Great comic relief comes from Mr. Healy and Mrs. Lew's number, as they quibble about their evil doings and eventually conning Pinocchio.

Pinocchio is an enchanting production that shouldn't be missed. The show runs through February 10. For more information visit or call (302) 655-1014.

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