Storybook stars Amelia Bedelia, Anansi & more come to life at Quick Center


Beloved children's book characters from Anansi the Spider to the fanciful alligators of Maurice Sendak rhymes will delight young audiences in the musical revue "Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia & Other Story Books" at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Performances are at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, and at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 10. The Monday show is part of the Quick Center's "Artsbound" Schoolday Series.

Suitable for children in grades K through 3, the fast-paced revue begins with all the performers acting as chefs who later become the characters from several different storybooks. It strives to give children a taste for the magic of theater, while reinforcing their love of reading.

The cornerstone of the show is Herman Parish's "Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia," a charming tale about the hard-working maid who takes directions a tad too literally. For instance, when her boss, the long-suffering Mr. Rogers, tells her to look for a fork in the road on their drive, she responds, "I just can't see it. Maybe there's a spoon instead!"

Anansi the Spider, who spins tales in the African tradition, comes to life in "Anansi and the Talking Melon." In the story, the hungry spider eats so much melon he grows too fat to crawl out of the rind. Ever-mischievous, he convinces an elephant and King Monkey that the melon is talking and he's eventually set free - only to gorge himself on bananas.

In Maurice Sendak's "Alligators All Around" the company is joined by some alligator friends who act out the alphabet to the refrain: "Pick A Letter. Try the Sound. Alligators All Around!" Other stories included are Kevin Henkes' "Jessica," Bernard Weber's "Ira Says Goodbye" and Tomie dePaola's "The Mysterious Giant of Barletta."

Directed by G. Wayne Hoffman, the show was created by Theatreworks/USA's Story Salad Productions.

"Theatreworks/USA is a children's theatre with a difference - and the difference is its quality," New York Post theater reviewer Clive Barnes wrote of the troupe.

Tickets to the Sunday shows are $12 for adults and $10 for children. The Monday performance is part of the Quick Center's "Artsbound" Schoolday Series and tickets are $5. The series is sponsored in part by Regina A. Quick, the Educational Foundation of America, the Kiwanis Club of Fairfield and the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation. Schools may contact the box office for study guides.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 13, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 155