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Review

Rugrats: A Live Adventure
by Spotlight Youth Theatre
 

THE SHOW:  

The Rugrats made their Nickelodeon debut in 1991 and ended up running for thirteen years, the animated series revealing the world as seen by a group of toddlers from one to three years old where mundane experiences in the adult world became imaginative adventures to the little rugrats. And now the animated series has a live adventure! This musical stage production has super-smart baby Tommy trying to save his super-scared two-year-old friend Chuckie from his constant fears and make him feel safe. But Tommyís new invention called the People-ator, which brings inanimate objects to life, may backfire when the toy dinosaur becomes the live monster Reptar and the invention gets taken by the troublemaking three-year-old Angelica who has her sights set on world domination. What follows is a pretty entertaining little show with a good mix of song types, a bit of audience interaction, and characters and circumstances that kids will likely enjoy no matter how well they know, or donít yet know, the Rugrats.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

This area premier of the show at Spotlight Youth Theatre in Glendale does a terrific job of visually bringing the cartoon to life. The sets are dominated by several movable panels designed and painted by Bobby Sample and Taylor Bader  to depict the background of the rugratsí homes, and do so with impressive detail. Fun costumes by Naomi Jordon and Andi Jordon, and hair and makeup by Trey DeGroodt, help complete the visuals. While Director Kenny Grossmanís cast, most of whom hadnít seen the cartoon before starting work on the show, skillfully and amusingly animate the characters.  

Diaper-clad Garrett Armstrong does a nice job as our young, precocious Tommy, sympathetic to his friendís many plights and determined to help. Carolyn Heinzer is hilarious as the perpetually nervous Chuckie, using her voice and expressions to great effect throughout whether in terror of monstrous Reptars (Tanya Whitten) or in terror of riding back and forth on the vacuum cleaner. And Cate Labas is delightfully obnoxious as the naughty and self-centered Angelica who may just succeed in becoming the princess of the world.  

Elsewhere, Amy Fishencord and Zoey Waller are Phil and Lil, somewhat creepy fraternal twins who bring big laughs with every verbal and non-verbal reaction to the events around them. Bella Swope as Susie leads the cast in a well-staged number Everybody Say, Lily Swope joins Angelica as the Torch Singer in Angelicaís anthem Iíve Been A Bad, Bad Girl, Kayla Stillman ends the first act in a big way as an Opera Diva with the opera classic You Are My Dinosaur, and Kayla Dobbs as a recently animated flashlight leads the ensemble in the encouraging Shine Your Light. David Samson as fellow inventor dad Stu and Isabella Armstrong as Didi are good as the occasionally seen parental units, with Stu helping inspire Tommy with A Great Idea Can Change The World. And Grandpa Lou (Philip Amerine filling in for Trey DeGroodt this particular night) comes on stage to fall promptly to sleep, content to leave the bulk of the adventures to the young.

Performed September 5 - 21, 2014

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 


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Tommy: Garrett Armstrong
Chuckie: Carolyn Heinzer
Angelica: Cate Labas
Phil: Amy Fishencord
Lil: Zoey Waller
Susie: Bella Swope
Stu: David Samson
Didi: Isabella Armstrong
Grandpa Lou: Philip Amerine / Trey DeGroodt
Lori/Opera Diva: Kayla Stillman
Astoria: Jessica Dolyniuk
Stevie: Hannah Montano
Spike: Madison Pierce
Ms. Falshlight: Kayla Dobbs
Torch Singer: Lily Swope
Reptar: Tanya Whitten
Radio Announcer: Delaney Fowler
Ensemble:
Brooke Gillaspy
Collin Gillaspy
Beth Amerine
Corynn Gates
Paige Mayo
Hannah Pohlmeyer
Chloe Wedge
Tino DeAngelis
Michael Podlesnik
Delaney Fowler
Lily Swope
Tanya Whitten

Director: Kenny Grossman
Musical Director: Heather Walker
Choreographer: Michelle Chin
Hair and Make-up: Trey DeGroodt
Set and Prop Design/Artisans: Bobby Sample and Taylor Bader
Costume Design: Naomi Jordan and Andi Jordon
Photography: Alayne Vogel

   

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