Moo-moo, moo moo moo moo! Moo! As Daisy would say, which for those of you who don’t speak cow, is translated to say “There is a fabulous story happening at The Pumpkin Theatre right now! Come see it!” And Daisy the cow is right! A new rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk— The Story of Jack and Daisy, has surfaced on the stages at Pumpkin. Written by the company’s Artistic Director, Jimi Kinstle, with Music by Ryan Haase, and Directed by James Hunnicutt, the show takes the familiar fairytale and brings Jack’s best friend, a cow named Daisy, along for the ride!
Artistic Director Jimi Kinstle has taken a unique approach to the classic tale and shown the importance of friendship to audiences of all ages with his new take on Jack and the Beanstalk. Choosing to have Jack’s best friend be a cow named Daisy that only Jack can understand is an excellent way to display the theme of acceptance among friends regardless of their differences. Composer Ryan Haase adds his signature flare to the production with music written to underscore talking scenes as well as accompany lyrics Kinstle has written to make this show a semi-musical. The tunes are catchy and straight forward; a perfect hybrid of Kinstle and Haase’s creativity in this musical endeavor.
Scenic Designer Heather M. Mork handles the challenge of growing an enormous beanstalk in the quaint space with a most clever approach. Her two main scenes, the house of Jack and his mother and that of the castle in the clouds, look as if they were torn straight from the pages of a treasured old book of fairytales and nursery rhymes. The color schemes are simple and the designs basic to let the vibrant characters do all of the attention-grabbing when it comes to engaging the audience.
Costume Designer Wil E. Crowther focuses on creating differences in the characters. Jack and his mother wear patchwork rags to show their state of poverty while Mr. and Mrs. Giantlady wear costumes of a shinier quality with eccentric accents like feathered head pieces and top hats to show their riches. Crowther even gives a nod to the tweedy underhanded style associated with traveling salesmen by putting the traveler in a checker-printed suit.
The cast proves that they know how to have fun, tell a story, and sing songs all at the same time. With voices that are bold, clear, and well tuned; all six members of the performance handle the little musical numbers with energetic enthusiasm, especially Jack (Derek Cooper) and Jack’s Mother (Cheryl J. Campo).
Playing Mr. Giantlady and Mrs. Giantlady are Thomas Purdy and Kay-Meghan Washington. Their big booming voices are perfect for the roles of giants, and they hide their villainy and trickery well in coy turns of phrases. Having just the right level of unease in their characters both Purdy and Washington become gicamean nasty monsters without being too scary in this production targeted at young children.
Daisy the Cow (Kelsey Painter) is a real treat to have as a best friend, just ask Jack (Derek Cooper) and he’ll tell you so! Painter never ‘speaks’ but does all of her communication through ‘mooing.’ But with Painter’s expressive eyes and gestures, and the way she forces emotions into her moos, it is easy to tell her feelings on various situations. It also creates a great deal of humor for the audience to watch her communicating so effectively with nothing but her moo.
Cooper is an exceptional performer for young audiences. With a childlike vibrancy in his portrayal he makes Jack a relatable character to boys and girls of all ages. It’s Cooper’s ability to flawlessly handle unexpected interruptions from the audience that makes him truly magical; incorporating accidental audience interaction into the scene so that everyone can continue to enjoy the story.
It’s a perfectly entertaining performance that will keep the kids smiling and it provides a great exposure to musical theatre in a short period of time where little members of the audience’s attention spans will stay right with the story.
Running Time: Approximately 50 minutes, with no intermission.
Jack and the Beanstalk— The Story of Jack and Daisy plays through April 27, 2014 at The Pumpkin Theatre performing at Har Sinai Congregation— 2905 Walnut Avenue in Owings Mills, Maryland. For tickets call the box office at (410) 902-1814, or purchase them online.