The best children’s fare is a fusion of different types of entertainment that engages all ages on different levels. This month First Stage opens a show that is best-suited to kids ages 4-10+. That’s quite a range. With The Legend of Rock, Paper Scissors, First Stage does a strikingly impressive job of embracing a wide range of different kids while also maintaining the kind of appeal that keeps parents entertained for the full 90 minutes with intermission for cookies and juice.
Based on the popular children’s book by Drew Daywalt (who also wrote The Day the Crayons Quit) The Legend of Rock, Paper Scissors follows the three powerful warriors on a musical journey to find worthy opponents. First Stage’s John Maclay has done a very sharp job of expanding Daywalt’s book into an impressively sophisticated bit of musical theatre for the whole family. Rock, Paper and Scissors exist in a mystically mundane realm based on a traditional middle class household. Paper hails from Mom’s Home Office. Scissors comes from the junk drawer in the kitchen. Rock originates in the back yard. Each must best opponents in song and dance numbers in their home domains if they are to meet at the end of the show for the big showdown.
My youngest daughter is in kindergarten. She loved the show for all the colorful characters cleverly brought to life by the cast through costuming and puppetry. Costume/puppet designer Brandon Kirkham finds some remarkably vivid ways of brining common household things to life including ominously large dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets from the frozen tundra of the freezer and a tap dancing Scottish scotch tape dispenser from the kitchen junk drawer. Scenic Designer Arnold Bueso and Lighting Designer Jason Fassl give the action of the musical a radiant, brightly-colored abstract space in which to exist.
My oldest daughter is closer to the upper age range of the show. She loved the show for all the clever, little bits of humor that Maclay puts into the script. It was fun to engage her on the finer details of the production during intermission and after the show. (Her review of the show follows.) The Legend of Rock, Paper Scissors is a surprisingly diverse tour through different genres of popular music. Rick Pendzich charismatically opens the show in a very metal mood as the hard rock Rock. His opening song is a tribute to ‘80s glam metal. Lamar Jefferson is charmingly heroic as the energetic R&B master Paper. His first big number has him singing his “Jam” to a menacing printer in Mom’s Home Office. Karen Estrada rounds out the central cast as a pair of classy fabric scissors with a stylish Latin energy. Also included on the show are a country/western Georgia Peach, a disco clothespin and a bag of half-eaten trail mix that sings the blues. As an adult it’s fun to see just how seamlessly it all comes together. Director Kelly Doherty does an excellent job of bringing it all together and keeping it moving with brisk pacing.
The Legend of Rock, Paper Scissors continues through April 5th at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. For ticket reservations and more, visit First Stage online.
Costumes, Props and Friendship
(A Kid's View by Amalia Bickerstaff)
I saw The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors at First Stage with my family. I think that it’s a really good play for the whole family to watch together. It’s a funny musical about the game and how it started. It has jokes in it that make everyone in the family laugh.
The costumes and the props were really interesting. The Paper costume incorporated paper clips and the blue lines of notebook paper. I can tell they put hard work into the design of the costumes. And when I’m talking about the costumes I mean like ALL of the costumes: Rock, Paper, Scissors AND the supporting cast.
The props are really cool. Some of them are kind of like costumes like the chicken nugget dinosaurs (that are kind of like on peoples heads and bodies) and the trail mix (which is four puppeteers in a giant sleeping bag holding eight puppets.) In terms of the action the chicken nugget dinosaurs were the funniest. Scissors was battling them as they all attacked her at once. They were surrounding her!
Overall I feel like this was a very good musical. In the end they learn that there’s no true winner. Winning and losing doesn’t really matter. What’s important is friendship.
Amalia Bickerstaff is an MPS student at Zablocki Elementary. This is her first review for The Small Stage