Stephanie Watson is a native Minnesotan who grew up immersing herself in stories: reading, watching TV, acting in Children’s Theatre Company shows and spending lots of time at the library. She is a local author who teaches writing classes and does picture book critique work as well.
Most importantly, she is happy to be a soul parent. (Trust me, it’s most definitely soul and not sole–her heart and humor is two sizes too big)
She and her 5 year old daughter (who shares my birthday!) live in Minneapolis.
We are pumped to have Stephanie on BookHounds this month as she is a dynamic mama with a really cool job. She talks about what it’s like to be an author and how they foster reading in their home.
“Hold EVERYTHING! It is NOT a diary! I specifically told my mom not to get me a diary.“
photo credit Dan Norman
Diary of a Wimpy Kid the musical is the story of Greg Heffley and his buddy Rowley Jefferson as they navigate through middle school. A middle school experience just like yours and mine.
Only instead of the gut-wrenching, emotional heartache of middle school, you experience gasping-for-breath belly laughs.
Greg is trying to navigate through the murky waters of school while being a middle child. He has a brother in high school (Rodrick who incidentally has a band, Loded Diper) and a “baby” brother who has his own embarrassing nickname for Greg.
photo credit Dan Norman
He learns pretty quickly that he wants to be a cool kid in school or at least rise in his ranking in the eyes of his peers. So he sets out to make a name for himself.
And his faithful friend, Rowley, cheers him on all the way. Because Rowley’s main objective? To be Greg’s best friend.
Therein lies the rub. “I know you will do the right thing,” Greg’s mom tells him.
Rachel Rockwell, the director, casted the characters perfectly. Here are my four favorite. (I would add Rodrick played by Brandon Brooks, but that somehow seems disloyal to Greg)
Greg, played by Ricky Falbo from Chicago, is the perfect straight man. His exagerrated emotional expressions, let alone his oratory, communicate the entire flavor of the show. Throughout the whole show, the entire audience is cheering for him.
photo credit Dan Norman
Rowley, played by David Rosenthal, could not be a better funny man. His supreme naivety and dorky innocence makes every mom want to sit down and explain the world to him. And the next moment you are laughing so hard at his dancing and singing, your face hurts.
Charig is played by Om Angarkar. OH, MY WORD! He is hysterical. He had both my 3rd-grader and me rolling on the floor. Greg’s interactions with Charig and Charig’s reactions were so delightfully written, I felt I was back in middle school.
Photo credit Dan Norman
Fregley is played by Soren Thayne Miller and honestly I don’t know where they found this guy. Fregley is the gross kid no one wants to sit by, walk past or even look at. He adores Greg, and he let’s everyone know it.
Simplistic sets taken straight from the books focus your attention on the characters, and basic props punctuate the story. I am sure the sets are not simple to manuever especially with 54 scene changes. From home to school to Rowley’s house to school to his own bedroom to the street to neighbors’ front doors to school, etc. It takes perfect precision, timing, and organization to be able to keep the moving parts from distracting from the story. So three cheers for the Run Crew backstage.
Photo credit Dan Norman
Diary of a Wimpy Kid the musical would be nothing if not for strong writing and music. Much of the story is in song peppered with narration by Greg and some dialogue throughout. Many genres (written by Alan Schmuckler and Michael Mahler) are represented including Rap, Pop, Heavy Metal, Gospel, and of course Broadway. With songs like “Stuck in the Middle” and “I’ve Got an Animal Heart,” “Joshie Says” and many more, you will be humming all the way home.
Who Should See Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical
This show is perfect for kids of any age who love the book. It’s also perfect for middle schoolers and high schoolers. It’s fun for everyone.
I brought my 3rd grader who has read the books. I even splurged and bought her a new one just because it seemed like the right thing to do.
As she sat in the lobby reading her new book, an adorable young man (we soon learned he was a second grader) from New Jersey sat down next her and showed her his book asking who her favorite character is. They exchanged names and we learned that my daughter shares her name with his sister. They were fast friends.
After chatting with his dad about the theatre and Minneapolis, we were soon ready to find our seats. We were seated in the second row. Dead center.
“Mom. We couldn’t have done anything better. It blew my mind.” She also stated that she hadn’t understood all the jokes, but it didn’t matter at all.
When I suggested that I should have brought her older sister, she shrieked, “NO! I needed to come to this. I’m the one who read the books.”
We walked to our car and smiled all the way home.
Family Fun Twin Cities received tickets to review the show, but all opinions are our own.
Mary Casanova, a delightful lady from the North Woods in Minnesota, took time to chat with us, BookHounds, about her newest book Wake Up, Island!, her previous works, what it is like to be an author, and so much more.
“My goal has never changed from the beginning. I want to write stories that matter and books that readers can’t put down.”
The video production is not great since it’s from the Periscope App, but it’s worth it.
BookHounds invited David LaRochelle, author of Monster & Son, to our “studio” for an interview. Monster & Son was released on April 12 and we love it.
In fact, we are hosting a Launch Party for Monster & Son on Saturday, April 30. It’s the Monster Bash! If you are in town, you don’t want to miss this event with goodies to purchase, projects to make, exploration of Base Camp, a monster hunt, a princess visit, a dance party, a real-live scientist and David LaRochelle, himself.
We were so excited to have him read his book (with permission from Chronicle Books) and talk what it’s like to be an author. We also chatted about great books!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is coming toChildren’s Theatre Companythis spring! The cast and crew and production team are thrilled to bring this beloved book to life. Turning a modern-day classic into a dynamic musical takes a special team.
We have the privilege of introducing you to some of the masterminds behind the show: director Rachel Rockwell and music directors Alan Schmuckler and Michael Mahler.
Our final pre-launch BookHounds interview was with Aimee Bissonette. She is the author of Northwoods Girl and Miss Colfax’s Light. We had some technical difficulties while recording this interview due to malfunctions of my own. However, I was able to capture the story in full and most of the interview.
Thanks for your understanding and enjoy the show (s).