Pink. It’s the color of love, the hue of joy, the tint of cotton candy. It is the ultimate source of happiness for Pinkalicious, the star of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s latest musical.
The title character in “Pinkalicious” is a pigtailed firecracker and a literal depiction of her name. Her clothes are pink, her bedroom is pink, and so are the bows on her shiny fuchsia shoes. But one day, tempted by a tiered platter of scrumptious pink cupcakes, Pinkalicious takes her obsession too far, which leads her family to reassess what pink means to each of them.
Sisters Victoria and Elizabeth Kann coauthored the 29-page picture book, as well as the pithy theatrical book. John Gregor’s score expands the characters and adds thematic depth to the simple story. In particular, brother Peter (played by Jordan Ellis) has an increased role in the stage version. Judging by the audience, most fans of the books are girls under the age of ten. Parents, bring your boys: Any fashion magazine will illustrate that pink is not only for girls, and this play has a twist that challenges that stereotype.
A cast with terrific voices fleshes out the four main characters. But it is the three person ensemble, played by Ashby Blakely (he has terrific legs), Olivia Edge and Lucianne Hamilton, who give the play a tinge of hilarity. They are dancing cupcakes, a team of medical professionals, and fast-talking best friend Allison. In a playground scene, the three play a bird, a butterfly and a bee (love those pantaloons). Blakely is a riot as sassy Dr. Wink.
Director-choreographer Ron Chisholm uses the whole stage to celebrate the unquenchable energy of exuberant children. Pinkalicious flits about, alternately skipping with joy, chasing her brother and throwing awe-inspiring tantrums. Cassandra Howley Wood morphs from charming to precocious to petulant in the flick of a fairy’s wing.
Kerry Lee Chipman’s scenic design is elaborate and captures the cartoonish essence of the picture book. Clouds made of white doilies dangle above the Pinkerton House. Pinkalicious’ bedroom is a princess’ fantasy. Cell phones put the play firmly in the modern era. But a refrigerator the shade of macaroni and cheese with 1950s pull handles hints that some realities of family life are untouched by time. Kids beg for things, parents say no, kids keep begging, and eventually parents stop paying attention, until something happens…
Costume designer Courtney Scott’s dancing cupcakes could hold their own against any Sugar Plum Fairy. The Pinkertons drive a “people-powered, crossbreed hybrid car” designed by Bob Croghan that would make Fred Flintstone proud.
The best surprise is the score. In “Buzz Off,” a trio of garden creatures tries to determine if Pinkalicious is a flower. In “Peter’s Pink Blues,” her brother croons “It takes a strong boy to love the color pink, to stand up to what all the people think.” “Peter and Pinkalicious Ponder the Predicament” begins with somber church overtones and speeds into a raucous dance number. “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset,” the Pinkerton parents advise their children.
You won’t, either.
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