Last Saturday, I got the chance to take all three kids to see Treasure Island: a new musical at The Rep. Really, there’s few things that excite me more than live theater with people I love.
These guys were feeling pretty excited as well:
Yep, we all love a good adventure at the Jones house, especially one with pirates. ARRRRRR.
This one did not disappoint. We all thoroughly enjoyed it, starting with the set. It is fantastically designed so that its many levels and staircases and ropes can be wharf or boat or even island. My daughter especially liked how the light changed across the back like an eyepiece opening and closing, and we all loved how the actors used the whole thing like a large playground, climbing and leaping and running around the stage. The cast as a whole was great, and my 14 year old son really enjoyed the fact that the lead was also 14. Our unanimous favorite, though, was Patrick Richwood, who played Ben Gunn, a marooned sailor who is more than a little off-kilter after years on an island alone. We all agreed he stole the show.
The most fascinating part to me is that this Treasure Island is brand new; it has literally never been staged before right now, right here at The Rep. My friend Donna and I went down to the Clinton School of Public Service a few days before the show to listen to the director, writers, and a couple of cast members talk about it. Hearing about the process of creating a musical was so interesting: they’ve been working on it since 2006 and now they finally get to see what they’ve been imagining for so long. And, just as closely as we are watching the stage, they are watching us – trying to see which parts work and which don’t, what needs tightening up or just a few seconds more. The audience here in Little Rock will affect the final shape of the show. Very cool.
After the play was over, we headed upstairs to the orchestra (room? it doesn’t seem like a pit if it’s not under the stage…) to see our friend Pat who plays drums for all the musicals at The Rep. He had invited us to come see his set up. Since there are so many different sounds that happen during the show, he isn’t playing with a regular kit – instead, he is sitting in the middle of a complete circle of percussion instruments, turning to grab what he needs as he goes. Incredibly talented, this guy.
Treasure Island is a great show to go see if you are looking for something fun to do over spring break, or if you’d love to experience something together as a family. In my opinion, it’s an especially good show to take boys too. There’s a special matinee on Saturday, March 23, Little Rock Family Day, that would be perfect for that – with half price tickets for kids and $5 off adult tickets, a pre-show talk and special activities in the lobby.
Or, if you’re all grown up but still love a little swashbuckling, I think the Party Like a Pirate event sounds too fun – on Thursday, March 28, come an hour before the show, eat a little and enjoy special rum cocktails prepared by Joel DiPippa. You have to call the box office (378-0405) for tickets to that.
Treasure Island runs through May 31.
The Arkansas Repertory Theater was kind enough to provide me with tickets to Treasure Island so that I could write about my experience. Opinions and applause are all mine! You can get tickets here or by clicking The Rep logo.