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October 7, 2014

Laugh ‘Til You Huff and Puff at the Lewis Family Playhouse’s Ninth Season Opener, "The Three Little Pigs: A Curly Musical Tail"

Written by  Isabel Quintero
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The plot of the story remains the same – three pigs build homes out of questionable material, while a wolf attempts to take their life. As a child that story was always one of my favorites. Though, I do admit, remakes were always better than the original because the author had to work hard to keep the integrity of the tale intact, while still changing it. John Scieszka did it quite successfully in, The True Story of Three Little Pigs, by creating a sympathetic wolf and some very rude piggies. In George Stiles’ and Anthony Drewe’s The Three Little Pigs: A Very Curly Musical Tail, our classic heroes take to the stage in a coming of age adaptation of the story. No, no. Not coming of age like Holden Caulfield (though wouldn’t that be interesting?), but more like finding out what it means to grow up, become independent, and stake your own claim in the world – not only for yourself, but for your family as well.

Family. That inescapable clan into which we are born and which often drives us crazy, but whom we can’t live without and would do anything for. In the world of the three little pigs, Cha, Siu, and Bao (a play on a delicious Chinese pork dish-no wonder the Big Bad Wolf couldn’t stay away!) family is both really important, but also difficult to see eye to eye with. The beginning of the tale begins with mom, played by Tracy Leigh, realizing that the pigsty was no longer big enough for the four of them (dad had been eaten a year earlier by the Big Bad Wolf) and letting her now grown piglets, know that they needed to make their own way. She taught them all they needed to know and gave them the tools, food, and money they needed to get started and sent them on their way. For the three pigs, life on their own is hard; especially when they want to do things on their own instead of together. Bao, played by Joe Fria, is the bookish pig, who knows that it is better to build a house out of brick than sticks and straw. His dream is to build a home big enough for his brother, sister, and mom to live with him, but his siblings won’t hear of it. It takes the Big Bad Wolf, a ferociously charming Michael Manuel, taking their mother hostage for them to realize that true strength lies with family. In the end...well you know how it goes.

I was lucky enough to watch the show with kindergartners and first graders, who were enthralled by both the action on stage as well as the songs that were sung. The show runs about an hour long and is sure to be a good time for the entire family–even grown ups. One thing that I especially appreciated was that Stiles and Drewe stayed true to the ending of the original tale. You don’t know the original ending? Well, then you should definitely make your way to the Lewis Family Playhouse for the MainStreet Theatre Company’s 9th season opener, The Three Little Pigs: A Very Curly Musical Tail, where they are dishing up a nice hot bowl of wolf soup. Oh, and laughter. Lots of laughter.

The Three Little Pigs: A Very Curly Musical Tail runs from October 4-October 19 at the Lewis Family Playhouse. Performances for family audiences will be on weekends (Saturdays at 1p.m. and 4p.m. and Sundays at 1p.m.) and on weekday mornings for school groups. Regular performance tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for children (age 12 and under), and seniors (age 60 and up). Foundation Family Saturday *Specially priced $9.50 tickets for October 4th performance. Foundation Family Flex Packs can be purchased at $12 a ticket, when four or more are purchased (Excludes Foundation Family Saturday opening performance). To purchase tickets call (909) 477-2752 or go to www.LewisFamilyPlayhouse.com. Parking is free.

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