There were some very happy young theatregoers and their parents at NextStop Theatre Company when I attended the very fun and electrifying production of Kathryn Walat’s Miss Electricity, directed with much love by Artistic Director Evan Hoffmann.
From the moment they stepped on the stage, introduced themselves, and welcomed the young attendees and their parents, the jovial, adorable, and talented cast: Brittany Martz (Violet), Jen Bevan (Mom/Connie/Mrs. Waldo/Athena), Chema Pineda-Fernandez (Narrator/Billy), and Joshua Simon (Freddy/Owl) had the audience in the palm of their hands. It was also great that the cast explained what theater was and Stage Manager Laura Moody explained the lighting and sound to the many first-time theatergoers.
The chemistry was electric among the cast members and the joy and happiness they were having working together on the stage was infectious, and it enveloped the intimate Industrial Strength Theatre.
Kooky Violet (a peppy Brittany Martz) is a 5th grader who wants to be the center of attention, hangs around with her sidekick Freddy (an energetic Joshua Simon), and she spends a lot of her time trying to set or break world records (in the Guinness Book of Records). She encounters daily bullying from two not-so-nice classmates Connie (a Cruella Deville-like Jen Bevan) and obnoxious Billy (a menacing Chema Pineda-Fernandez). And when she gets zapped by a bolt of lightning – TWICE! – she suddenly has new superpowers. And despite this shocking experience, this super-kid learns -through the help of a talking owl- that if you don’t appreciate or give a ‘hoot’ about your Mom (a very caring and energetic Jen Bevan) and best friend (an even more energetic Joshua Simon) and others who care for you-you will be alone and very lonely and miserable. And Violet eventually learns a very valuable lesson or two and hopefully, so did the young theatregoers who attended my performance.
And they learned that Greek mythology can be fun! And they learned that it’s important to know the US state capitals!
Director and NextStop Artistic Director Evan Hoffman stated in the press release, “It is important to promote positive images and feelings to children from a young age. In NextStop Theatre Company’s production of Miss Electricity, the focus is to break through negative self-esteem and give children the tools and power to appreciate who they are and recognize the people who care about them. We’ve always loved the idea of introducing live theatre to new generations, and being able to bring this production to so many local kids is a really a treat. In addition, for this production, we’re pulling back the curtains so kids can see the lighting and sound technicians at work, bringing the story alive in front of them!”
And this wonderful production succeeded in accomplishing all these goals!
Miss Electricity flies by quickly in under an honor, and the audience gets a chance to boo the bullies, cheer for Violet and Billy, feel sorry for Violet’s Mom, and applaud the happy ending. And after the show, the cast signs autographs and schmoozes with the young audience members and their parents. The kids at my performance were beaming!
Properties Designer Sierra Banack and Costume Designer Kristina Martin have added a splash of colors to the production. And Elizabeth Dapo provided the puppet design. Nick Upchurch provided the sound design, and Jon Harvey is the Technical Director.
Thanks a ‘watt’ NextStop Theatre Company for this fun show. Take the whole family to see Miss Electricity. It’s only playing through this weekend and you don’t want to miss it!
Running Time: One hour, with no intermission.
Miss Electricity is ‘current-ly’ playing through this Sunday, September 28, 2014 at NextStop Theatre -269 Sunset Park Drive, in Herndon, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 481-5930, or purchase them online.
After September 28, 2014, Miss Electricity takes to the road performing at nine local Virginia schools.