Making Books Sing Creates Fear and Joy

Wanda's Monster is Not So Terrible

By: - Apr 21, 2013

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Wanda’s Monster: The Musical
Music and Lyrics by Laurie Berkner
Book by Barbara Krieger
Based on a book by Eileen Spinellli and Nancy Hayashi
Directed by Adrienne Kapstein
With Laura Hankin, Jamie Kolnick, Jams Ortiz, Wesley Tunison
Drew Francis (Set Design), Ariel J. Benjamin (Lighting), Leslie Bernstein (Costumes); Charles Coes (Sound).  Kristen Lee Rosenfeld (keyboard), Freddy Hall (guitar).

Making Books Sing
340 East 46th Street,
(212) 573-8791
New York, New York 10017
April 19-May 12, 2013

In a garret bedroom that looks like Ratatouille’s Paris hideaway, a monster comes to stay for a week with Wanda.  From the start he looks squishy.  We assume he is a he because he’s played with charm and sensitivity by James Ortiz.  And also because he seems to have stepped out of a page of ‘Where the Wild Things Are” and on to softer version in the book which is the basis of this charming musical. 

Wanda is played by charming Laura Hankin, who has a lovely clear voice.  She senses that there’s something in her room.  She calls grandma, who is on her way to a gig at a nightclub where she performs.  Her motorcycle must be parked below.  Grandma is about the coolest old lady you’ve met, thin, jazzed up, rushing to take care of everything on her plate. 

Slick Jamie Kolnick’s Grandma says of course there may be a monster, but monsters are nothing to be scared of; the theme of the evening. Grandma has been catapulted into the future from the book to the stage, where she displays a black-haired hip. 

Wanda’s brother, created by Wesley Tunison strutting his stuff confidently, does not believe in monsters, until he sees one.  Eeeegads! 

Wanda moves from terror to fondness, giving the monster a surprise suggestion for the next closet to live in.

Monsters have always intrigued. They have come multitheaded and multifooted.  They have combined lion, snake and goat.  But over time they have come to look more and more like us, just larger and hairier.  Children’s fear of the dark is dispelled when they see a shy and sensitive creature in their closet. 

Bright music, enchanting performances by all, make this a perfect afternoon for children and their grownups.