Rarely Done Productions, the downtown troupe that specializes in edgy, provocative floorboards fare that most other companies wouldn’t touch, can always be counted on to do the unexpected. And nothing could be more unexpected than their latest venture: an honest-to-goodness children’s show, Pinkalicious: The Musical, about a young girl’s comical obsession with the color pink. Presented under the new Dormouse Series banner, Pinkalicious runs weekend matinees only at Jazz Central, 441 E. Washington St.
Co-authors and sisters Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann adapted their 2006 preschool-geared book Pinkalicious into a breezy theatrical tuner, with help from composer John Gregor. The center of attention is Pinkalicious Pinkerton (played by Sara Weiler), the pert, pop-eyed and pigtailed worshipper of all things pink, particularly pink cupcakes. (Uh-oh.)
Despite gentle admonitions such as “You get what you get and you don’t get upset” from her mom (Sara Elmer), Pinkalicious soon realizes the downside of having too much of a good thing. Thus, too many pink cupcakes causes Pinkalicious to turn pink from head to toe. “Even my hair is the color of raspberry sorbet!” she exults with a wide grin, delighted that she is now embellished in her favorite color.
Meanwhile, a subplot has Pinkalicious’ kid brother Peter (Jon Basla) likewise developing a pink jones, something that troubles the Pinkertons’ patriarch (David Witanowski, from the currently dormant Wit’s End Players). But don’t jump to conclusions; papa’s prime concern is not what you initially think. It all ends happily, however, with some mild affirmations regarding the joys of healthy eating habits (antioxidants, anyone?) and the strengths of familial bonds.
Pinkalicious director David Cotter has a background in children’s theater, as well as a ready explanation for Rarely Done’s Dormouse sideline. “Our aim is to develop the next generation of theatergoers and funnel them into the system,” he says, which perhaps means that the kids who are in the 2012 Pinkalicious audience might one day buy tickets to Rarely Done’s 2032 revival of The Marvelous Wonderettes. Cotter also reveals that the Dormouse series is named after the sleepy critter from Alice in Wonderland, and that Pinkalicious will tour Central New York, including a December stop at the Atonement Lutheran Church, Appleseed Productions’ stomping grounds.
Wherever Pinkalicious turns up on the road, theatergoers of all ages will be amused by this bouncy production. The Kann sisters and lyricist Gregor have conspired for a harmonic hodgepodge of musical genres similar to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. In one clever moment, Jon Basla’s Peter wails the classic lament “My daddy done told me. . . ” to begin his showstopping “I Got the Pink Blues.” Jumping to another genre, actress Ceara Windhausen as Dr. Wink slips out of her stethoscope and into a spangly green outfit for a vaudeville tap-dance routine in the “Pinkatitus” number.
Cotter’s zippy pacing makes the most of several running gags, such as the Pinkerton clan riding aboard a four-seated bicycle, and the bit of business involving Pinkalicious’ morning ritual in which she drops an alarm clock onto the floor. Choreographer Jodi Bova Mele contributes some snappy dance moves, such as Pinkalicious’ battles with birds and bumblebees, as played by the supporting ensemble. C.J. Young and Darian Sundberg’s storybook production design is appropriately heavy on hues from the Pepto-Bismol palette.
Cotter’s stylized approach is often reminiscent of the old Pee-wee Herman Saturday morning TV show, with energy levels to the max and occasional bursts of anarchy, like the tug-of-war moment over cupcakes when the Pinkerton parents scream “No!” and Pinkalicious responds with “More!” in rapid succession. Yet Cotter also strives to make the parental units more believable, with Sara Elmer as mom and David Witanowski as dad (a Syracuse New Times reader, it turns out) responding with just-right interpretations.
Regarding Pinkalicious herself, Sara Weiler is 10 kinds of adorable
in the lead, as her manic child lightly dances on the edge of comic
madness as she throws caution to the wind with her overindulgence. After
each performance of Pinkalicious: The Musical (which includes
moments of audience interaction along the way), there will even be pink
cupcakes in the Jazz Central lobby. How pinkerrific is that?
This production runs through Oct. 7. See Times Table for information.