Emerald City Theatere’s Fancy Nancy: the Musical takes the beloved title character from the bestselling book series by Jane O’Connor and puts her on stage with a few of her friends in this energetic one-hour performance perfect for young children.
A recent literary sensation, the first Fancy Nancy book emerged in 2005 with many more to follow. However, even those theatergoers not familiar with Nancy, who enjoys learning new words and making her world as fancy as it can be, will adore this upbeat show where Nancy is cast as a part she did not want in her dance recital.
For more information about the musical’s plot and the successful book series, click here.
All of the actors do a fabulous job of playing lovable, relatable elementary school children. Fancy Nancy and her best friend, Bree, do everything together, sometimes joined by their other friends Rhonda, Wanda, and Lionel. These five actors play children in a believable, exciting way. Their sweet singing and dancing pull everyone in the theater into a world where boys don’t understand the importance of fashion or of being a star.
Often traveling up and down the aisles and encouraging the audience to clap along, the cheerful characters help even stuffy parents to smile and sway along to the music.
The sole male, Lionel (played by Micah Kronlokken) adds a touch of goofiness and masculinity to an otherwise very feminine show. Cast as a shark in the dance recital, his rap number is one of the most memorable songs. The sisters, Rhonda (Hayley Reynolds) and Wanda (Samantha Mitchell) also have a tough side, often competing in sports and share an “anything you can do, I can do better” song where despite their competition, they appreciate being on the same team.
Bree (Angela Alise) acts as a nice sidekick to the shining star Fancy Nancy (Katrina Kiss). Kiss is so adorable in this role with a poignant energy that could translate into so many other roles. Those who have read the book immediately believe that she is Fancy Nancy, based not only on her eclectic pink attire and vast vocabulary, but also the way she seems to truly feel the ups and downs that Nancy experiences in her quest to remember what’s most important in life.
The adult in the cast, Nancy’s mother (Claire Kaiser) adds something for the over-10 crowd in the audience, particularly in the song where she explains how proud she is of Nancy no matter what she does and that the best job she could ever have is being Nancy’s mom.
The Broadway Playhouse is a wonderful place to take children who are experiencing live theater for the first time. Conveniently located in Water Tower Place, the theatre is a nice size, and every seat has a perfect view of the stage. The set and costumes include lots of bright colors and lights. The show is fast-paced with many songs featuring strong choices sung by excellent voices.
Broadway in Chicago and the Emerald City Theater present “Fancy Nancy: the Musical,” through August 23. Tickets ($16-$24) are available online here or by phone at (800) 775-2000.