Pictured: Emily Senkowsy, Nik Kmiecik, and Leon J Evans. Photo by Austin D Oie.
“Let the show begi-i-i-i-n!” haralds one of the players in the new fare at Emerald City where the invitation to climb aboard THE MAGIC TREE HO– USE couldn’t be more enthusiastic and promising of a truly good time. One might genuinely wonder how can a show that already begins with the energy dial cranked to a 110% ever sustain its vitality, but this adventure never derails, delivering an hour packed of harmony-filled hip-hop, rich choreography and simple engaging storyline entertaining enough not only for our kids but us, grown-up children, too.
There are several key factors that contribute to the fun of this production, starting with the writing team, augmenting their joyful creation with Emerald’s City ability to throw a high energy children’s party. Your eyes feast on colorful textures and dynamic patterns painted by Light Designer Brian Elston and Costume Designer Rachel M. Sypniewski; your ears absorb the beautiful music and rhyme presented by an ensemble of spot-on performers; your inner spirit imagines dancing along to Jamal Howard’s delightful choreography. The whole package simply puts you in a jolly good mood. There’s even a bit with a bear (a gentle Miguel Long),and an irresistibly likeable William Shakespeare (an effortlessly charming Leon J. Evans).
Emerald City Theatre is a necessary component in the Chicago theatrical community, where, in addition to providing energetic children’s productions, they also give back to the community and provide accessible shows for underserved communities. All the while, acknowledging the importance of education through the arts and commending our youth for their participation in learning and wanting to learn through fun. Don’t you wish someone can create a play about doing taxes that is just as fun as it is informative? Yeah, me too. —
January 30th, 2018