Frederick – Stages Theatre Review – January 2018
My 9 year-old son and I went to Stages Theatre Co. to see their new show Frederick on opening night. The show is based on the Caldecott Award-winning picture book of the same name by Leo Lionni.
FFTC was given media comp tickets to attend this show. All opinions are my own.
Leo Lionni’s Frederick
The story is a 50 year old classic that tells the story of a mouse isn’t like everyone else. As soon as the summer is over, the mice all scurry about to gather enough supplies for the winter. Everyone, that is, except Frederick. While the mice–big and small–are collecting food and water to get them through a long, cold winter in their hideaway, Frederick is collecting colors, feelings, smells, pictures.
Which seems all well and good.
Except when you are hungry and you don’t have enough food. So Nervous Nellie takes on the job of captain and organizes everyone into tasks. Even the baby mice are put to work. Ernest creates and invention. And they just might make it, except for…. Frederick.
For the first 1/2 of the show, I was skeptical. “They are going to tell us that dreams are as important as food” I said to myself, “when that is CLEARLY not the case.” I did not verbalize this to my son. I wanted him to be swept away by the magic. And he was. What I didn’t expect was that I, too, would be swept away by the magic myself.
By the end of the show, I was on Team Frederick. “We DO need the arts to help us get through life!” I exclaimed.
When I asked Dane what he would rate the show between 1 and 10 Stars, he exuberantly exclaimed, “10! Totally 10 Stars!” He also stated that in the book there are four characters which is different from the 15 on stage. He thought it was funny, and it didn’t take away from the show. It was just an observation.
Stages Theatre Company (STC) invites you and yours to cozy in this winter for the heartwarming story of Frederick as he shows us that everyone has something special to give to the world. While other mice are gathering food for the winter, Frederick daydreams the summer away. When the cold weather sets in, however, it is Frederick who has stored up something significant to survive the long, blustery winter. The Caldecott-winning book by beloved author Leo Lionni has been charming readers for 50 years. Adapted by Suzanne Maynard Miller, with music and lyrics by Sarah Durkee and Paul Jacobs and directed by Marilee Mahler, this award-winning adaptation, featuring a roots-flavored country and folk infused score, will delight the heart and tickle the imagination.
“Frederick touches on the importance of art and artists in society,” says STC Artistic Director Sandy Boren-Barrett. “When others question what his role or contribution to his community is, Frederick replies: “I do work,” said Frederick. “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days. I am gathering words. For the winter days are long and many, and we’ll run out of things to say.” Here in Minnesota January and February are the “long and many” winter days – we hope to brighten those days for our audiences.
Parental Guidance for Frederick
This show is super cute and perfect for your preschooler to 3rd/4th grader. Keep in mind that this is a professional show that is done for kids and BY kids. There were two adults in the whole show (and one of them was our absolute favorite character).
Things to be aware of if you have a sensitive child.
- They turn the lights all the way down just a couple of times.
- Frederick gets lost and the mice all have to look for him.
- There are a lot of songs to keep your kiddos engaged.
- The characters have just a little make-up on their faces around their noses, but that’s really about all.
Final Thoughts on Frederick
Frederick is a sweet show to enjoy with your kids. It’s one hour long with no intermissions and Stages is inclusive of everyone.
Article Written by Gianna Kordatzky