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MSQ Review: Happily Never After – The Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California
Tired of endless revivals and cover band shows? This is the perfect palate cleanser.
If like me you are tired of countless cover band shows (Rain, Million Dollar Quartet, Backbeat) and endless revivals that didn’t warrant production in the first place (Jekyll & Hyde), then you’re probably desperately looking for something to cleanse your cultural palate. It was just that search that led me to Happily Never After, a family musical featuring mostly kids that runs through March 24th in North Hollywood.
Big Bad Wolf (Alec Medlock) and his brother Little Big Bad Wolf (Jordan Greenbaum) team up with The Queen of Hearts (Stephanie Dimont), the Gingerbread Witch (Sara McMahon) and the Thirteen Fairy (Vera Wheatley) to turn the tables permanently on the good characters in their respective fairy tales. Think of it is Into the Woods light.
With a book by Scott Guy and music and lyrics by Nick DeGregorio, Happily Never After is a delight. There’s enough innuendo to please adults, some catchy tunes, and most importantly an entire company of actors who are clearly having a good time performing this show. Does it all work? No. Will all these kids have careers in musical theatre? No. But therein lies the charm. It’s encouraging to watch a cast that celebrates the "let’s put on a show" tradition. They are having fun and, for now, they're doing it for love.
Kay Cole, the original Maggie in A Chorus Line has directed and choreographed Happily Never After so that the show wears its heart on its sleeve. Unlike numerous big-budget shows, it doesn’t need to distract us with visual effects and cutting-edge sound design. We can see beyond all of that anyway. While those other shows were wolves in sheep’s clothing, Happily Never After has a happy ending indeed.