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"Freckleface Strawberry The Musical" at New World Stages

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MMAC Productions, LLC
(MMAC Website)
Freckleface Strawberry The Musical
(Freckleface Strawberry The Musical Website)

New World Stages
(New World Stages Website)
340 West 50th Street
NY, NY 10019

Music & Lyrics by Gary Kupper
Book by Gary Kupper and Rose Caiola
Based on the Book Written by Julianne Moore
(Freckleface Strawberry, The Book Web Page)
And Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Conceived for the Stage by Rose Caiola
Choreographed by Gail Pennington Crutchfield
Music Direction and Additional Arrangements
By David Keyes
Directed by Buddy Crutchfield

Jessica Bishop, Andrew Cristi, Linda Gabler, Kimiko Glenn,
Joey Haro, Mykal Kilgore, Eric Nelsen, Morgan Smith

Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt
Lighting Design: Jason Kantrowitz
Costume Design: Fabio Toblini, Holly Cal
Sound Design: Peter Fitzgerald, Chris Cronin
Casting: Mark Simon Casting
General Manager: Laura Heller
Press: Pete Sanders, JS Communications
Production Stage Manager: Pamela Eddington
Production Manager: BD White
Advertising and Marketing:
Davenport Media Enterprises
Arrangements: Gary Kupper, Chris Hajian
Music Coordinator: John Miller
Merchandising: Gardner & Dove
Hair Design: Charles LaPointe
Dance Captain: Morgan Smith
Conductor/Pianist: Dave Keyes
Drums/Synth Drums: Eric Halvorson

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 18, 2010

As a former elementary school administrator, teacher, curriculum designer, I’m quite fussy about kids’ shows, for quality, engagement, teachable moments, etc. Even fussier than me is my seven year-old niece, Camille, who accompanied me to Freckleface Strawberry The Musical. I had sent her the Julianne Moore book, on which the show is based, plus the book’s sequel, Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully, so she was prepared for the story. Camille’s eyes were fixed on the stage throughout, and it helped that there was a ballerina character as well, since Camille dances in The Nutcracker. My party of three was entranced and entertained by the multi-talented cast of seven adults, six of whom were in children’s colorful costuming. The seventh, Linda Gabler, was Mother, Teacher, and Jane.

Hayley Podschun was Strawberry, a seven year-old who is ridiculed at school and the playground for her prominent freckles all over her face. Strawberry tries to scrub them off and eventually resorts to a bright green and pink ski mask, that spooks her friends and makes them miss her. It’s a familiar theme of kids learning to feel good about themselves through bonded relationships. Gary Kupper’s music and lyrics, with the collaborative book by Kupper and Rose Caiola, as well as Gail Pennington Crutchfield’s choreography, all combine for a first-rate theatrical experience, that I and Camille’s mother thoroughly enjoyed along with all the kids. In fact, the parents were laughing and smiling, and this is a New York crowd. There were some adults on their own, as well.

Ms. Podschun sang her repertoire, including “Look at Me” and “Hey It’s Me” with clear vocals, expressive emotion, and exuberant physicality. My favorite scene was in the classroom, with a raunchy, witty teacher (Ms. Gabler), who sang “Creative Minds” with swagger and swivel. Jessica Bishop plays the confident, aspiring Ballet Girl, who’s quite an accomplished and poised dancer, en pointe, trying to gain entrance to Manhattan Youth Ballet. Andrew Cristi, as Jake, Strawberry’s best friend, was endearing and persuasive. Mykal Kilgore plays Harry, Strawberry’s baby brother, and he pulls off the role with big round glasses and cut off pants. Kimiko Glenn, as Emily, a rising star to watch, has enough personality and glow to reach the back rows and balcony. Joey Haro, as Danny and Little Brother, ebullient and charismatic, had his moment in his solo, “Basketball”.

Beowulf Boritt’s sets move about to form Strawberry’s schoolyard, playground, bedroom, ballet school, school hallway, and classroom. There are hula hoops, balloon balls, basketball, tutu, magnifying glass, ski mask, and costumes with stripes, plaids, and polka dots. After the show, at New World Stages, you can buy a Freckleface Strawberry hat, shirt, or memento to remember the great time you had on your own or with a seven year-old. And, for discount parking at New World Stages, click HERE.

Hayley Podschun as Freckleface Strawberry.
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg

The Cast of "Freckleface Strawberry: The Musical"
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg

Camille at The Boat House Cafe
in Her Freckleface Strawberry Hat
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at