Theater

Sam Permar wraps his arm around choreographer Laura Mixon during rehearsal of another camp musical. Photos by Ben Scott
Sam Permar (right foreground), who played Jack in the recent Children's Theater production of "Beanstalk the Musical" wraps his arm around choreographer Laura Mixon during rehearsal of another camp musical. Photos by Ben Scott

Young players update well-known tale

By Eleni Collins - August 10, 2006

"Beanstalk the Musical," performed Friday, July 21 by the Children's Theatre of Martha's Vineyard at the Sailing Camp Park in Oak Bluffs, was easy to enjoy. Directed by Betsy Hight and written by Ross Mihalko and Donna Swift, the tale of what really happened when Jack's mother threw the magic beans out of the window featured songs that kept the audience attentive and laughing. In a solo, for example, the giant's wife sang, "He was tall and dark and handsome, he was simple, he was sweet. He said he wanted children, but he wanted them to eat!"

Jack, played by three performers to keep up with his changing disguise to fool the giant, was the son of a crude mother who only cared about money, which she had none of. Sent to the market to trade their skinny and unproductive cow, Jack traded the animal in for magic beans, to his mother's dismay. When he returned home, he is sent to bed without supper, to which Jack responds, "There's nothing to eat anyways!"

Campers Katy Gwynn, Zak Martelucci and Curtis Doiron learn their lines. Photo by Ben Scott
Campers Katy Gwynn, Zak Martelucci and Curtis Doiron learn their lines.

The mysterious bean seller, played by Taylor McNeely, had the audience laughing with song lines such as, "Beans, beans, I got a lot of beans. Fava, Lima, pinto too. I've got a lot of lentils, you can try 'em in a stew." He played a sort of double-role, which was revealed at the end of the musical, bringing the pieces of the story together.

Mariah Thompson and Laura Mixon, among others in the crew, designed clever costumes for the cast. One worth mentioning is Jack's mother's outfit. Dressed in a red ensemble, she wore a red headband that resembled devil ears - quite fitting since her character's morals were questionable. The rest of the cast was clad in multi-colored, shimmering robes that complemented their choreographed dances.

The Children's Theatre cast and crew's ages ranged from six to 16, the youngest being Rose Capobianco, who played the enchanting Magic Harp. Director Elizabeth Hight, who has been part of the program for 11 years, is now a member of the senior staff, which is made up of college students who are pursuing an education in theater. "It's worked out great because I've never had to look for a summer job," said Elizabeth of her career with Children's Theatre.

Elizabeth Hight goes over the script with some of the children. Photo by Ben Scott
Elizabeth Hight (right), former camper and present day senior staff member, goes over the script with some of the children. Their next show, "The Ballad of One Eyed Jack: the Terror of Tiah's Cove," will be on August 18.

Though there is a large age range, camper Katie Clarke raved about the program. "It works out really well. The little kids look up to the older kids, and the older kids like to watch over the younger kids."

A "Beanstalk" soundtrack on CD, as well as a video recording of the musical will be available for $10 and will be sent out at the end of the summer. To purchase a copy of either item, call musical director Linda Berg, 508-693-9840.