“Goodnight Moon” delivered!

Childsplay’s Goodnight Moon performance had every aspect of Margaret Wise Brown’s timeless book and then some.

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They were able to incorporate “The Runaway Bunny”, the nursery rhyme of the cow jumping over the moon, and they even added in the tooth fairy! I was amazed when the bears sitting in chairs turned out to be tap dancing bears, who knew they had such talent?

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This performance was also a good lesson in perseverance with telling the cow to try again and again and to believe you can do anything you set your mind to.

My older children were very curious on the workings of how the objects (clock, lamp, bed, etc) were moving around. The fog coming out of the doll house (tooth fairy’s workshop) was a nice touch. At the end of the performance they invited everyone to form a line if they wanted to come on stage and speak to the actors/actresses and explore the stage/props. I would say the play was just the right amount of time for the attention span of my two year old.

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I will add this tip: arrive into the stage area early if you choose floor seating! I did not think about it and so we were in the last row of the floor seating and it made it a bit difficult to see everything especially for my youngest kids. Childsplay was very nice and accommodating to provide cushions and rugs to make the floor seating more comfortable.

In the lobby there was a Goodnight Moon photo booth (ipad) which took a series of 4 pictures which you could then upload to your Facebook or Twitter account. At the activity table the children enjoyed coloring/writing their own “Goodnight” stories. Next to the activity table, there was a small Goodnight Moon photo prop with chair which made for a cute picture of one of my little ones. I would recommend Goodnight Moon as an enjoyable performance for all ages.

Rachael Adelhelm
Family Blogger

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One of my most visceral memories of watching a Childsplay production came a couple of years ago as I watched The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. As the last scene played out, I felt an ocean of tears pour down my cheeks, so moving were the story and the performances as they worked in perfect concert with one another. Since then, I have seen a number of other shows from the troupe – each one of them quite good and of impressive quality – but none that quite approached the highs of Edward Tulane.

Goodnight Moon comes really, really close, though.

This charming, whimsical musical takes the beloved children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd and not only treats it with reverence, but actually manages to build upon it to create a world that engages the imagination on an amazing level. The story, such as it is, is simple: a young bunny does his best to avoid going to bed (as our own children are wont to do). His distractions to help him do so are plentiful: a mischievous mouse, a pair of kittens, some unusual bears, a daredevil cow, and much, much more.

My step-children both cite the book as their favorite bedtime story from their early years, so we went into the theatre with great anticipation. It was a particularly seminal story for my step-son, who is autistic. There is a rhythm to the book’s language that was soothing to him and helped him deal with his autism-driven anxiety issues. Amazingly, the Childsplay production had much the same effect. He was entranced by much of what he saw on the stage, the characters, songs, and situations offering comfort to him. It was wonderful to see it.

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For her part, my step-daughter had much the same response. She was continually impressed by every aspect of the production. At least twice she asked me how the actors were changing costumes so quickly, and she was also curious about how many of the props and scenery pieces worked. The production not only captured her childhood love of the book, but it engaged her curiosity on an intellectual level, which made her mother and I quite happy.

Everything about Goodnight Moon impressed. The cast (Michael Thompson, Chanel Bragg, Michelle Chin, and Tommy Strawser) is uniformly excellent. Thompson, as the bunny, brings a joyful innocence to the character, and you can’t help but adore him as he tries to avoid sleep. Bragg, Chin, and Strawser take on multiple roles, and each one gets the chance to shine. Their singing voices are all in fine form as well, and some innovative choreography helps propel the songs to glorious heights.

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But as good as the cast is, they are matched in the quality of the actual production. The stage is gorgeously rendered as the bunny’s bedroom, and the prop work is some of the finest I’ve seen since… well, since Edward Tulane. The attention to detail is staggering, and shows off exactly why Childsplay is the best theatre of its kind in the country.

Marc Mason
Family Blogger