Youth Theater Shines Again with Pinocchio

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In a nicely staged moment during Pinocchio – the Musical, puppeteer Geppetto maneuvers his creation as Cricky watches.

Photo by Lester Smith

In a nicely staged moment during Pinocchio – the Musical, puppeteer Geppetto maneuvers his creation as Cricky watches.

The latest production of the Suffield Youth Theater was Pinocchio – the Musical, an adaptation by Wayne R. Scott of Redlands, Cal., of the classic old story and famous Disney animated movie. The musical was produced in three performances in late August in the Second Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. This adaptation is a considerable stretch from its predecessors, but the music was delightful, and the young crew brought it all to life with creativity and skill. Director Dominic Colangelo, now a sophomore at Suffield Academy, has triumphed again.

Dom had some great help, with actors and production crew from a wide age range of youthful participants. Musically, Olivia Grimard as Angelina – sort of a Good Witch of the South in angel’s garb – sang with operatic skill. And Jake Wilson, as puppeteer Geppetto, expressed his strongly dramatic role convincingly. Michaela Conway was almost continually in action on stage, singing and providing exposition charmingly in the role of Cricky, this production’s version of Disney’s Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio’s conscience and guardian.

And among the younger contingent, Nathan Fabrizi as Pinocchio, the puppet who yearned to become a real boy, was well cast in the role of that somehow autonomous puppet. Not suspecting the evil motive of his new friends, he was enticed away from school to join a traveling show. And then, after being rescued by Cricky and Angelina and briefly burdened with that famous proboscis, being enticed away again. This time it was to enjoy an excursion to Pleasure Island, which turned out to be enslavement in a salt mine.

The wondrously ridiculous denouement finds Geppetto and Pinocchio reuniting in a whale’s interior, then being explosively expelled to a happy recovery, in which Pinocchio finds that he is now “a real boy.” All is well, and everyone dances and sings in delight.

Liam Duffy helped as production assistant; Abby Bahl was musical director as well as playing the role of Lampwick, one of Pinocchio’s friends; and Delaney O’Toole and Michaela Boulay were the choreographers – a major task in this play, with lots of active scenes involving young dancers. Ally Zawawi did costume design, creating colorful scenes among the impressive sets.

Those who might want to see what the Suffield Youth Theater has achieved may watch a recording of the 80-minute production on YouTube. This reporter found it by Googling Pinocchio 2016 YouTube.

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