Maybe Has its World Premiere at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins

Photo by Amy Rondeau Photography

Maybe is a new musical having it’s world premiere at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins. It’s based on the book written by Kobi Yamada, adapted by Christina Pippa, and music and lyrics by Sharon Kenny. It’s message is to encourage its audience to always see the possibilities, to think of what they want, then figure out how to achieve it. That’s not just good advice for the young people in the theater but for everyone. The way to achieve anything is to set a goal and figure out the steps to accomplish it. Maybe is a wonderful way to try and instill that idea into children at an early age so that they can get the most use from it. The production was produced in collaboration with Escalate Theatre & Dance Studio, and the dancing is definitely one of the highlights.

A simple story about a human child named Birdy who is gifted at seeing the possibilities. She is surrounded by the Possibility Posse, a group led by Posse Bull and Posse Blee who cannot be seen or heard but act as an inspiration to Birdy. Posse Blee leaves a bunch of leafs in Birdy’s path and as usual she takes something ordinary and makes it extraordinary creating a headpiece of a bird with the leafs as feathers. Birdy meets Orville a pig and they go along together trying to determine what Orville’s possibility is. Orville wants to fly. Along the way they meet several other creatures who have found their possibility and share their stories, and help inspire Birdy and Orville. Eventually, Birdy and Orville decide that maybe they need to look on the water for their answer and board a sailboat.

Birdy is played by Caidance Kue, who’s only in the sixth grade, and was up to the task of headlining the show. She has stage presence and voice that should she continue to perform and work on her craft, could have a career in theater if that is what she desires. Zola Jo Renfroe as Orville is also delightful and the pair have a nice chemistry. I love Stages because they are doing the good work of creating the next generation of theatermakers and theatergoers. The reality is sometimes the intentions are better than the execution where we end up with performers who know their lines but haven’t learned to put any meaning behind them. I’m happy to say that didn’t come across as the case this time, we weren’t just watching young people recite their lines, there was an element of character and emotion in all the roles.

The dancing by the cast is incredibly tight, especially given the age of many of the performers. There are four credited Choreographers; Katie Barron, Anna Esposito, Tammi LeMire, and Megan Torbert and they’ve done a wonderful job. The moves may not be extremely complex or difficult, but the precision and synchronization was impressive and the relative simplicity of the individual movements could inspire kids in the audience to think, maybe I can do that. The production is co-directed by the Artistic Directors of Stages and Escalate Sandy Boren-Barrett and Ann Marie Omeish. They keep a nice flow and balance between the acting, singing and dancing, it’s definitely a successful collaboration between the two companies. I’ve not read the book by Yamada so I cannot speak to how faithfully or how well it’s adapted for the stage, but I liked the storyline and script by Pippa. The music was upbeat and catchy but the weak link in the show was probably the lyrics. Too often it felt as if the words were being made to fit the music or the music was just written and underlying notes for the words to be sung too. Not the case with every song, but many had that element if not throughout, at times. The marriage between music and lyric just didn’t always seem to develop, leaving parts of songs feeling clunky.

Maybe runs through February 12th at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins. For more information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.stagestheatre.org/maybe/

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