Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lifeline's Last of the Dragons is a First Favorite of 2010

2010 is off to a fire breathing, roaring start, in the world of Chicago children's theatre productions.   We saw "The Last of the Dragons" last Sunday and unanimously loved it!   Lifeline Theatre's world premiere musical adaptation of the classic Edith Nesbit tale, soundly trumps all those retched "helpless princess waiting to be rescued by prince charming" fairy tales that we had to endure in our childhoods.   It's our first favorite of the new decade.

This princess is a brave and beautiful fencing powerhouse, who's not going settle for being tied to a boulder, while she waits around to be rescued, just because that's how things have always been done.    Princess Andromeda of Astoria (Anne Sears) decides to challenge the traditions of her kingdom and fight the last living dragon herself.

This prince is more brains than brawn; a geeky, bookish inventor who skipped out on his royal fencing lessons to read more math books.   He's as leery of the arranged marriage, as his wife to be is.   But, Prince Stanley of Tuscany (Scott Allen Luke) is one prince of a nice guy, who's just as scared of the princess as he is of the dragon.

This dragon just wants to have tea and cookies in peace, and have someone ask what he wants, instead of endlessly trying to kill him.   Fortunately, Princess Andromeda is brave and smart enough not to stab first and ask questions later.

This production was adapted for the stage by David Bareford; music by Mikhail Fiksel;
lyrics by Mikhail Fiksel, Kyle Hamman, and Alex Balestrieri; directed by Dorothy Milne.

ChiIL Mama highly recommends this playful musical, with it's strong female lead, smart and sensitive prince, and tradition challenging message.   The songs are excellent, and even my punk rock 6 year old, who has a low tolerance for traditional musical children's theatre, enjoyed the tunes.

top 3 photos by Suzanne Plunkett 
remaining photos by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

The Last of the Dragons is educational too.   In addition to the healthy girl power message, the show includes dialogue that would make a high school English teacher proud.   David Fink is a hoot, as wisecracking parrot, D'Artagnan, who developed an astounding vocabulary because his cage was lined with the pages of a dictionary.   David did impressive triple duty as not only the verbose bird, but Chamberlain and the dragon as well.

After the show, we had the pleasure of meeting David's parents in the autograph line.   His Mom sighed, "My husband is a doctor.   My son is a dragon.   I just have to go with it."   It's easy to see where he gets his comedic timing.   She proudly told me of his reptile repertoire, since he also starred as Lyle in "Lyle, Lyle Crocodile", a favorite past Lifeline Theatre production, we loved as well.

The kids continued their dual traditions of getting their programs autographed by the actors and getting their picture taken in the funky, oversized prop chair in the lobby.


All of the actors, costumes and set design were fantastic, and "The Last of the Dragons" continues Lifeline Theatre's reputation for truly worthwhile childrens theatre.

Lifeline Theatre's world premiere musical runs Saturdays at 1pm and Sundays at 11am and 1pm, through  February 21st.   The theatre is located at 6912 N. Glenwood.   Call the box office at 773-761-4477 or check out their web site for tickets.

While you're in the Glenwood Arts district, check out the funky sculpture yard in the lot next door to Lifeline Theatre,

The Mess Hall, a few doors to the North, is also a unique place to explore.   They have a barter system wall of posts for jobs needed and skills available, and a fun FREE box to rifle through or fill with fun treasures you're ready to pass along.

Then just a few block further North, you can eat at bohemian, hippy activist staple, Heartland Cafe.   Carnivours, vegetarians and even vegans will find choices on this inclusive menu.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say I'm a bit surprised to see Sage-the-pirate in a pettiskirt! She looks adorable. And the black and white photo of her running is great.