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Funny, Scary, Delightful

First Stage turns ‘Goosebumps’ into a charming musical

Oct. 18, 2016
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Photo by Paul Ruffalo

What perfect timing! As Halloween approaches, First Stage is already handing out tricks and treats with its funny, scary and delightful production of Goosebumps The Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium.

Based on the series by R.L. Stine, First Stage Associate Artistic Director John Maclay and Music Director-Composer Danny Abosch have adapted the novel into a musical which will charm audiences of all ages. The “big kids” will immediately recognize the storyline from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera while the “littler ones” easily pick up on all the Disney references. When Brooke and Zeke are cast in a show about a phantom, strange things begin to happen at the school. Is someone playing tricks? Or is there a real phantom out to stop this production? 

Director Niffer Clarke masterfully keeps the silly suspense turned up high amid the solid musical numbers and her own well-executed choreography. With Stine’s books, it’s the kids who are the smart ones and Brooke and Zeke certainly rule here as they try to figure out who—or what—is actually behind all the ominous warnings.

The Chills cast of young performers handled the acting chores at last Saturday’s matinée with the utmost enthusiasm and professionalism. Chantae Miller is already a veteran of local productions and it shows in her pitch-perfect performance as Brooke. Jake Koch’s Zeke is the perfect comic foil and Mallorey Wallace hits all the rights notes (literally) as “mean girl—kinda-sorta” Tina. Veteran stage actors Carrie Hitchcock and Chris Klopatek serve this production well as the befuddled teacher and scary janitor, respectively. 

For those looking to get into the Halloween spirit, Goosebumps is just the kind of show to keep you smiling throughout all the scary stuff. And isn’t that what tricks and treats are all about?

Through Nov. 13 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts’ Todd Wehr Theater. For tickets and further information, call 414-267-2961 or visit firststage.org.

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