Wednesday, July 23, 2008


CHICKEN LITTLE Continues the Celebration in
Barnstable Summer Family Theater’s 20th Season

The Wizard of OZ may have left the building, but that doesn’t mean that the Barnstable Summer Family Theater is planning to rest on its laurels and head for the beach just yet, especially in its 20th anniversary season. Hot on the heels of the Cape’s largest musical ever, Producer John Sullivan and Director Ed O’Toole are presenting another of their original takes on familiar stories, in the tradition of their recent favorites like The Lost Treasure of Blackbeard and The Real Untold Story of Cinderella.

This summer, it’s their version of Chicken Little, whose warning that the sky is falling leads to disaster for his barnyard companions at the hands (or claws) of the crafty Foxy Loxy. In the Sullivan-O’Toole rendition, Chicken Little again squares off against that egg-stealing villain, but this time he has a little extra help from a couple of unexpected friends that may just change the outcome of the story.

Chicken Little, a would-be radio news reporter, is hot on the trail of a big scoop, the annual inspection tour of the Egg King when she stumbles on another, even bigger story. According to her sources, a certain Professor von Hokumschlinger and his assistant, Doctor Dummkopf, the sky is falling and the only safe haven for CL’s barnyard companions are the dreaded Deep Dark Woods. What the gullible CL doesn’t realize, of course, is that the nefarious Foxy Loxy disguises himself and his weaselly assistant Merritt the Ferret as von Hokumschlinger and Dummkopf so that the animals will flee the barnyard and leave their treasure trove of eggs unguarded.

True to BSFT tradition, this is a story not just suitable for all ages, but appealing to them as well. O’Toole calls Chicken Little a play “in the tradition of Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett, classic animators whose cartoons are full of puns and jokes that work on more than one level.”
Sullivan adds, “With that kind of humor and the colorful costumes and sets the Summer Family Theater is known for, we think that everyone who got such a kick out of OZ is going to love Chicken Little.”

In fact, quite a few of the young actors who played Munchkins, flying monkeys and citizens of Oz will be in the cast of 40. As always, BSFT casts include a wide range of ages; this year’s cast ranges in age from 6 to 18. “It’s such a great chance for younger children who may not always have a chance to be on stage or have a speaking part to gain experience. We always make sure that everybody on stage has a line or two or some unique bit of stage business that allows him or her to have a ’spotlight’ moment,” O’Toole notes.

“We want to make sure that kids see being on stage as a chance to have fun, no matter their ability, “ Sullivan adds. “Not everybody can sing or dance, but there’s always something individual a person can bring to the production, and we try to find that something.”

Chicken Little opens on Tuesday, July 29 and continues on July 30 and 31 nad August 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8. All shows are at 7 PM in the air-conditioned Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center on West main Street, Hyannis. Tickets are 10 dollars and may be reserved by calling the BHS Drama Club at (508) 771-6246.

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