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Review

Disney's Mulan, Jr.
by Starlight Community Theater

THE SHOW:  

Music and lyrics by Matthew Wilder, David Zippel, Stephen Schwartz, Jeanine Tesori, and Alexa Junge. Music adapted and arranged and additional music and lyrics by Bryan Louiselle. Book adapted and additional lyrics by Patricia Cotter. Based on the 1998 Disney film and the story ďFa MulanĒ by Robert D. San Souci.  

A popular legend in China for more than a millennium, Mulan is a young woman who joins the army dressed as a man to save her elderly father from having to rejoin the army. The Disney animated film brilliantly mixed great comedy, cross-dressing, and powerful storytelling about family, war, and gender equality. Not to mention some new Disney classic songs including Iíll Make a Man Out of You and Reflection. Although the filmís lucky cricket didnít have the good fortune to get into the stage production, the Fa family ancestors still send out the lovable dragon mascot Mushu to help Mulan through her military training in the hopes of keeping her alive and upholding the family honor.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Eric and Susan Gibson direct this show at Starlight Community Theaterís new home featuring great views with staggered seating. The set centers around a nice, large Chinese gazebo protecting five seats for the Fa familyís ancestors and a dragon head above (sets by Cody Seaver, Mike Rippenkroeger, and Glenda Matson). While Samantha Utpadelís costumes are highlighted by the red-and-gold dragon, also featuring Geri Horacekís make-up design. And bringing honor to them all are about forty cast members of villagers, soldiers, some stressed ancestors and aforementioned dragon.  

Caitlyn Martinez stars as our title character, driven to help her father and face the dangers of war, and delivering some good belting in her soul-searching Reflection. She also works well with her sort-of-helpful dragon Mushu, with Lilly LeBlanc turning on the tears during Reflection, turning on the charisma as she trains Mulan on the basics of man impersonation, and both of them sporting many amusing expressions. Especially when Captain Shang (Griffin LeBlanc) begins to hilariously get his inner woman on for the Keep ĎEm Guessiní reprise.  

Mulanís ancestors (Brittany Dresevi, Ashley Gibbons, Quincy Janisse, Riley Watkins, and Savannah Wilson) are highly individual and enjoyable throughout. As are Mulanís soldier friends Harleigh Irizarry, Kate Jolly, and pint-sized but always-ready-for-battle third grader Calista Quint. James Wilson and Molly Jimmerson do a nice job as Mulanís parents, and Savoy Graca is a hoot as Grandma. Dylan Kurtz is a hot-headed leader of the Huns, Will Rippenkroeger is the quintessential annoying bureaucrat, Jesse Pike the judgmental matchmaker, and Justin Carey the calm Emperor. Surrounding them all is a young ensemble of earnest villagers, determined soldiers, and even Mushuís fiery breath, all saving China and combining for an entertaining show.

Performed October 4 - 19, 2013

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 
 

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Zhang: Brittany Dresevi
Lin: Ashley Gibbons
Yun: Quincy Janisse
Hong: Riley Watkins
Laozi: Savannah Wilson
Chi Fu: Will Rippenkroeger
Fa-Li: Molly Jimmerson
Fa-Zhou: James Wilson
Grandma Fa: Savon Graca
Mulan: Caitlyn Martinez
Mushu: Lilly LeBlanc
Shang: Griffin LeBlanc
Shan-Yu: Dylan Kurtz
The Matchmaker: Jesse Pike
Yao: Calista Quint
Ling: Harleigh Irizarry
Qian-Po: Kate Jolley
Subaru-Tu Hun Soldier: Luke McAllister
Hun Soldier: Kyle Wallenberg
Emperor: Justin Carey
Older Yi: Hayden Miller
Chinese Soldiers: Eddie Novicki and David Wilson
Ensemble:
Kyleigh Bachelor
Lexirose Blanzy
Emily Carey
Chelsea Carll
Addi Drew
Connor Hatch
Julie Huggins
Caden Johnston
Paige Manning
Colin Martinez
Miranda Monterrubio
Bri Novicki
Lucy Novicki
Rhianna Peterson
Jessica Reed
Emma Smith
Aleia Tuttle

Directors: Eric & Susan Gibson
Musical Director: Scott Sims
Choreographer: Nathalie Velasquez
Stage Manager: Laura Carroll
Stage & Set Designers:
Cody Seaver
Mike Rippenkroeger
Glenda Matson
Costume Designer: Samantha Utpadel
Make-Up Designer: Geri Horacek
Lighting Designer: Tammy Chavet
Sound Designers:
Susan Gibson
Nena Rippenkroeger
Scott Sims
Set Dresser/Props: Glenda Matson


   

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