As soon as Rosie comes through the door, this Ethel Merman wanna-be will capture your heart. Rosie is all heart and more, and she wants to share her joie de vivre with the world. Maurice Sendak’s “Really Rosie” brings us back a world when children played and acted out stories before little screens tore them away. And what a great way to welcome in 2018 for the “little theater that could,” Nina Schuessler, producing artistic director’s apt name for the Cape Cod Theatre Company, Home of the Harwich Junior Theatre.
One of CCTC/HJT’s strengths is the young people who shine through the extensive training they get here. And boy do they shine in “Really Rosie!” The all-children cast of 13 in this show are fantastic, from Lily Pierce as Rosie to Kayden Kaser as Chicken Soup!
Based on Sendak’s Nutshell Library’s tiny books, the show embraces the nonsensical nature of the tales with catchy song and dance production numbers with music written by Carole King. What better way to welcome back CCTC/HJT education director Tamara Harper by giving her the directorial reins for this musical. Harper has an innate ability to draw out the best in children and succeeds here with flying colors. This production will leave you perpetually smiling throughout the 90-minute show and all the way home.
Lily Pierce handles the leading role with sassy aplomb. The young woman shows us Rosie’s pizzazz and spunk and sings her heart out. Her fine performance was clearly contagious for each member of this cast is a joy to watch. Samantha Goode (Alligator), Bobby Plumb (Johnny), Tyler Brackett (Pierre), Maddie Weber (Kathy), Kaden Kaser (Chicken Soup), Emily Carr (Barbara), Molly Funk (Lion), Perry Gill (Rita), Annalise Langelier (Lindsay), Scarlett O’Malley (Sabrina) and Olivia Thompson (Jaqueline) all sing joyously and follow the choreographed dance steps magnificently. Standouts were Goode and company in “Alligators All Around,” Brackett in “Pierre,” and in the second act Pierce and Weber in “Such Sufferin’” and Weber and company in “The Awful Truth.” Suzette Hutchinson’s fun and funky choreography was well-executed by all. Each cast member is all-in on each number. They can be assured all that rehearsal time paid off; they nailed their marks and smiled all the way through. Susie Davis-Broff’s voice as the off-stage mothers got many a laugh too.
Instrumental to the action on the stage are musical director Robert Wilder (keyboard) and Tony Stevens (clarinet) as the band behind the curtain. They never missed a note. Frances Covais Lautenberger’s costumes were delightful, James P. Byrne’s set design and lighting was spot-on, as was J Hagenbuckle’s sound design. Also contributing to the polish of the show was the expertise of these folks: Matthew Kohler, tech director; Megan Downey, stage manager; Shiloh Pabst, sound operator and Brendan Cloney, light board operator.
The opening night audience was enthralled and thrilled with this show. It’s a perfect family outing. Get your tickets today.
At Cape Cod Theatre Company, Home of the Harwich Junior Theatre
Through Feb. 25, Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.; vacation matinees Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 20 to 22 at 2 p.m.
Information and reservations: 508-432-2002, ext. 2, www.capecodtheatrecompany.org