REVIEW - Lorenzo Marchessi, NohoArtsDistrict.com
Want a fun time with your children filled with song, color and audience participation? Go see Theatre West’s production of “The Circus Is Coming To Town”! Written by Lloyd J. Schwartz and music by Brian Feinstein, this play has something for everyone, especially the young and really really young.
Anne Leyden, Anthony Grupusso, Paul Denniston and Melanie Whola
Travel with your ringmaster Anne Leyden who literally creates this more than imaginary circus and proudly displays her love of imagination in her songs “Hooray For The Circus” and “Why Not Believe?” Anne is a delightful charmer as the ringmaster and corrals the entire cast of characters together with real audience members who volunteer themselves for tricks, trials and tumbling all on stage!
Now what would be a circus without a clown? Melanie Whola shines her comic words and fumbles with her tooting horn and her beautiful voice as she sings “Clowning Around” and shows everyone how to be their very own special clown. Melanie is fun, energetic and gets the kids all excited about being a clown and again, has such a wonderful voice.
And can you really have a circus without a lion tamer? I think not! Enter Paul Denniston as our “Wild” and fearless lion tamerwho sings his story in “Let Me Hear Your Roar.” His energy and enthusiasm is comical and contagious and really shows the kids acrobatics, animals sounds and how to march with the best of them. Paul also does double duty as the choreographer with some quite impressive yet simple musical steps for all the kids to keep in time with!
Now hysterically adding a lot of ‘color’ and flavor to the mix is Anthony Grupusso playing two roles. He is Mr. Grimble who only has HIS best interests at heart. He steals the reason the circus is there and then disappears leaving our heroes with a really big problem to fix. Mr. Grimble gets to sing proudly “Spinach-Aide!” a not so yummy drink that he even offers to the volunteers! Anthony then comes back in the second act as Ms. Ima Notfun. Yes – say it slowly - “Ms. I’m a Not-Fun!” Boy does he have a ball with this overzealous but feisty old lady with issues regarding everything about the newly formed circus. She gets to sing “No, No, No!” and has a blast doing it. What a delight to watch him/her work all the characters and the audience.
From preschool to kindergarten and all the way up to elementary school, kids are going to love this. You as parents can encourage them on, applaud for your kids and even hoot, holler and sing along too! Come see “The Circus Is Coming To Town” at Theatre West and the kids get to meet and get autographs from all the characters after the show! Go have some fun with the young ones in your family! Check them out at www.theatrewest.org.