By Holli Harms

Turning ten is huge! Really huge and you want that birthday marker to be as special as possible, but if you are the kid who really has no friends, and a too busy single mom, and a dad living on another continent who is doing his best but continuously forgets your age and date of birth, and a sister who thinks of you and everyone else as, “Lame, lame, lame, So lame!” – she’s 16 going on ugh!, and the oddest of neighbors, and you, Charley Maplewood, are about to turn the big one oh and so this moving into the world of double digits can be problematic, to put it mildly. You have obstacles to overcome and you have a month to overcome them. So you gotta create the best of parties – a themed party seems to be the best idea, and find friends, and find common ground with mom, and sis, and the weird neighbor who just so happens to love the same comic book series as you, Monsters and Maniacs, and oh, did he mention, he creates scary props for theatre and low low budget films? Oh you Charley Maplewood do have “sort of friends” -imaginary monsters and your dog Boing Boing.

The Big One-Oh!, based on the novel by Dean Pitchford now playing at The Atlantic Theater Company, is a musical that will steal your heart and have you smiling from ear to ear. It is perfect. Dean Pritchford wrote the music for this adaptation of his book and so you know you are in good hands. Mr. Pitchford wrote the film Footloose, he co-wrote three of the songs to the movie FAME: the title song Fame, Red Light and the incomparable I Sing The Body Electric to list but a few of his remarkable accomplishments.  He brings his talent and perfection to this play with the same showmanship and professionalism he brings to everything. The company of young and oh! so talented actors takes you on this wonderful 60-minute ride with puppets and dance and a great score that moves this story along like a bird in flight. The show will lift you and the theatre right up and off 20th street and into the stratosphere.

Kids theatre is tricky, you have to engage with story and movement and at the same time, if you are doing it right, make sure that mom and dad and older brother or sister are also engaged. The Atlantic Theater Kids has been consistent with their excellent storytelling and theirs is a wonderful way to introduce your child to the theatre and at the same time, you will be thoroughly entertained.

At my performance date the audience made up mostly of the very young was a raucous filled room of screeches and screams and laughs and it all fell silent when the show began and they listened and laughed and clapped. One child in the front responded vocally to Charley when he proclaimed, “I am so weird,” and the young one in the front of the house yelled, “No you’re not!”  Andrew Stanton says in his marvelous Ted Talk  about writing that the greatest story commandment is “make me care” and The Atlantic Theater’s Atlantic For Kids does that again and again. Bravo!

Last Performance Sunday, October 20th, 10:30am. For More information on performance times and tickets Go HERE

The Big One-Oh! World Premiere Musical Book by Timothy Allen McDonald, Music by Doug Besterman,Lyrics by Dean Pitchford, Based On The Novel By Dean Pitchford,

With: Aaron Banes, Sarah Kowalski, Laura Axelrod, Thomas Prast, Austin Sanders, Heather Sawyer, Samantha Joy Singh, Daniel Soto, Sarah Sutliff

Music Direction by Britt Bonney, Directed and Choreographed by MK Lawson, Scenic Designer Edward T. Morris, Costume Designer Rose Bisogno, Lighting Design Stacey De Rosier, Sound Designer Five OHM Productions, Camron Hoffman, Orchestrator Michael Starobin, Puppet Designer Leanne Brunn, Props Master Deborah Gaouette, Production Stage Manager Louis Markowitz, Production Manager S.M. Payton, Atlantic For Kids Artistic Director Alison Beatty

The Atlantic Theater’s LINDA GROSS THEATER 336 West 20th Street NYC NY
Recommended for kids 5+ but welcomes children of all ages.