Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wheelock Family Theatre Delights With "The Trumpet of The Swan" - Through November 22nd

The always reliable Wheelock Family Theatre has kicked off its 2015-2016 with the delightful "The Trumpet of The Swan."  The play is based on a book by author E. B. White and adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette.  This production is directed by Shelley Bolman.

The story is that of a young cygnet, the runt of a litter of five baby swans, who is born without the ability to trumpet or to make any sound at all.  This is a huge handicap for a trumpeter swan. This is a story of how he overcomes this huge obstacle by dint of his own determination and grittiness and with the help of his human friend, Sam Beaver. The story is told from the vantage point of adult Sam (Danny Bolton) looking back on his boyhood interactions with Louis the Swan.  Young Sam is played by Sebastian Wood.  Both Mr. Bolton and Master Wood are excellent in portraying a Sam who loves nature and will go well beyond the call of duty to find creative ways to help Louis, played with his usual irrepressible charm and deep expressiveness by Elbert Joseph.

Sebastian Wood as Young Sam
"The Trumpet of Te Swan"
Wheelock Family Theatre
Though November 22nd
Photo by Gary Alpert
Louis' parents are played with great elan by Jaime Carrillo and Caroline Lawton.  The father swam, Cob, is boisterous and long-winded, and his long-suffering spouse, Cygnus, assumes the role of having to shut down his expressive loquaciousness.  Their chemistry is fun to watch.  Jordan Clark plays Serena, the female swan whom Louis is able to woo, despite his inability to naturally trumpet. He has learned to read and write and play the brass trumpet like his namesake, Louis Armstrong.

Jordan Clark as Serena
Elbert Joseph as Louis
"The Trumpet of The Swan"
Wheelock Family Theatre
Through November 22nd
Photo by Gary Alpert

Other adult cast members include Cliff Odle as Watson/Lucky, Charlotte Peed as Mrs. /Judge, Kippy Goldfarb as Sam's Mom/Mrs. Tettlebaum and Margaret Clark as Miss Plum/Boatwoman/Zookeeper.  The cast is completed by a large flock of eager and well-trained young Wheelock teens and kids, playing a variety of forest animals, cygnets, campers, etc.  One of the extra benefits of attending a show at Wheelock is the sheer delight seen in the eyes of these young actors as they experience the thrill of performing live theater for an appreciative audience.

Scenic design is by Mac Young, who has created a versatile and verdant set that brings the outdoors inside this performance space.  Choreography is by Patricia Manolo Bochnak, Lighting by Annie Wiegand, Costumes by Lisa Simpson and Kaitee Tredway, Sound by Roger J. Moore.

In keeping with Wheelock's philosophy to be inclusive, surtitles are displayed to interpret Louis' ASL communication.

At its core, this play is a morality tale of the value of fighting to overcome adversity and perceived handicap.  It is a fun and inspirational show, and would make a great outing for any family.  I am happy to trumpet the news that this is a play well worth seeing. Bostonians will love the scene in which Louis flies to Boston to seek employment working for the Swan Boats in the Public Garden!

This production will run through November 22nd.

Wheelock Family Theatre Website



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