Dallas Children's Theater
Director – Nancy Schaeffer
Musical Director—Adam Wright
Scenic Designer – H. Bart McGeehon
Lighting Designer –Aaron Johansen
Sound Designer – Marco Salinas
Costume Designer – Lyle Huchton
Video and Props Designer—H. Bart McGeehon
Bree – Jori Jackson
Lionel– Rashaun Sibley
Rhonda– Lindsay Longacre
Wanda—Olivia de Guzman Emile
Reviewed Performance 9/20/2015
Reviewed by Genevieve Croft , Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Based on the 2005 children’s novel and wildly popular book series, Fancy Nancy: The Musical takes the audience on a delightful and fanciful journey of young girl, Nancy Clancy and her desire to dress extravagantly (always dressing in tutus, and feather boas), use fancy words, and delighting everyone with her posh and extraordinary use of language--including a few select French phrases which can make any ordinary conversation a fancy one. Fancy Nancy: The Musical was first produced Off-Broadway in 2012. Although taking elements and characters from the entire book series, Fancy Nancy: The Musical is mainly based on one book from the series: Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.
Told through the eyes of young Nancy, the story follows her desire to portray a mermaid in her school’s dance recital, The Deep Sea Dance. While all of her friends receive a fun role- Nancy must work through the disappointment of not receiving the part of the Mermaid, and must also be supportive of her best friend Bree, who is asked to play the Mermaid after a bicycle accident leaves the original choice unavailable. Through lessons on appropriate manners and it’s incredible use of elevated vocabulary--enough to make every situation “fancy”, Nancy overcomes her disappointment, and demonstrates lessons that are valuable to all audiences in a fancy and posh way, of course!
Set Designer H. Bart McGeehon nicely transformed the stage of the Baker Theater into a colorful, and dazzling set. Not only were audiences able to see Nancy’s bedroom-fully dressed with a wonderful spectrum of color, but, there were many elements to the scenic design that were visually appealing, and appealing to elements of texture. At many times throughout the production, I felt as if I was seeing the pages of the illustrated children’s book come to life on stage. I was impressed with his attention to detail in creating several areas of Nancy’s home, and his use of the two staging areas on stage left and right as the setting for the school playground and the school hallway. I was also impressed with McGeehon’s overall vision and design. Not only was the scenic design color-filled and visually pleasing, there were so many visual delights that caught my eye. There was always something new to look at on stage. McGeehon kept his vision true to the story by incorporating lots of sparkle, as well as many dazzling elements to keep the audience engaged into this fanciful and delightful musical. I also enjoyed seeing the elevated vocabulary adorning the set. It was a nice visual element that accompanied the dialogue used in the story.
Lighting was designed by Aaron Johansen. Lighting, like the scenic design, was very color-filled and vibrant. The mood was clearly established as the audience was drawn into this fun and fancy world. Lighting was very playful! It was a treat to see some lovely silhouettes of the actors which played upon the creative imaginations of the actors and audience members alike. The mood was established early and remained solidly consistent throughout the production, or as Nancy would describe it, “iridescent” and “poly-chromatic.” I am of course obliged to use “fancy” words here! One surprise was the use of the black light (a personal favorite effect of mine) during the audience participation portion of the production. It was a very nice touch that certainly added magic to the production.
Costumes were designed by Lyle Huchton. Huchton designed the fantastic costumes that also worked well with the scenic and the lighting designs. The costumes were kaleidoscopic, giving each character everything one would expect in a play geared toward children-very prismatic and vibrant. They certainly complimented the characters portrayed in the story. I enjoyed seeing details in each costume that represented an aspect of each character, and believe that Huchton did a phenomenal job of collaborating with the other areas of design.
Morgan Mabry was very remarkable in the role of Nancy- through facial expressions, an impressive voice, and a youthful appearance, Mabry convincingly portrayed the young girl who longed to make every conversation and situation fancy. For me, Ms. Mabry was the epitome of youthful adolescence honing and possessing that naive, wide-eyed innocence. Her humorous interactions with her Mother and friends were enjoyable to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed her portrayal of Nancy, and feel quite certain that her genuine nature, and amusing character will delight audiences of all ages.
Another standout performance was Rashaun Sibley as Lionel. Mr. Sibley was convincing as the only male friend in Nancy’s world, with humorous chemistry with Nancy, and the rest of the female ensemble. Sibley wonderfully portrayed the comic foil within the group- this is evident with his portrayal of the rapping shark in the Deep Sea Dance recital. He truly aroused the audience participation with his performance as Lionel The Shark. Fancy Nancy: The Musical is definitely worth seeing. The meticulous and care for detail is evident in all aspects of the production, and makes for a wonderful experience at the theater. It is an experience to be enjoyed for both the young, and the young-at-heart. Audiences will especially enjoy becoming a part of the show in the second half of the production…the entire theater is transformed into an under the sea wonderland with interactive giant waves, bubbles, and jellyfish that fly in from the sky. My son, Paul (who is 5 years old) specifically enjoyed this portion of the production. It is always a treat to become a part of the play. Fancy Nancy: The Musical will take you on an amazing journey. Take advantage of the many performances the Dallas Children’s Theatre has to offer (don’t forget that there is a performance specifically designed for ASL audiences, as well as a Sensory-Friendly performance-see details below).It will be a fantastic experience for all!
FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL
Dallas Children’s Theater
Rosewood Center for Family Arts, 5938 Skillman Street, Dallas, Texas 75231
Plays through October 25.
Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm
**Special Note: Sunday, September 27 at 4:30 pm (ASL Performance) and Saturday, October 17 at 1:30 pm (Sensory-Friendly Performance).
Recommended for ages 5 and up. Ticket prices range from $15.00 to $28.00. Reserve early for best pricing. Prices subject to change. Call the box office for details. For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.dct.org or call their box office at 214-740-0051.