BUD, NOT BUDDY is a real charmer at Riverwalk Theatre. We were privileged to attend the RIF Fundraiser performance, and got to meet the Christopher Paul Curtis, author of the book from which the play was adapted — and he’s a real charmer, too. He dedicated today to meetings with students at both Pattengill and Shabazz Academy, then mingled with the cast backstage, and with attendees at the preshow reception, and also answered questions in a post-show talkback. I’m sure the cast and audience will want to explore more of his work: http://www.nobodybutcurtis.com/books.html
Kudos to “Bud,” Kaveres Luckett-Brown, 12-year old 6th grader at Shabazz Academy, who leads us on this orphan’s search for his father. This central role is huge, with lines on every page. His spunk, energy and attitude carry the show, though his speedy delivery made some lines hard to understand.
Act one is populated with cute and talented youngsters/fellow orphans; act two is fleshed out with colorful and warm adults associated with the band Bud has targeted as the location of his father. Be sure to check out the bios in the program, where many have included their own interpretations of Bud’s “rules and things for having a funner life."
Tom Ferris’s year-long-dedication (the kids were cast last June) and practical, creative eye are evident throughout. The efficient set of neutral rough platforms transforms into “various locations in Michigan, 1936,” deftly changing with lighting, furniture and signs, never slowing the pace. Slides by Matt Ottinger add appropriate backdrop scenes.
I’m told this is may be the first time this show has been done with an near-age-appropriate Bud (Bud’s supposed to be 10; Kavares just turned 12.) Tom shifted some of his lines to “Old Bud” acting as a Narrator, in eloquent baritone by Chance Boyd. This lightened Bud’s line load a bit, and added an adult retrospective vision.
Band Member “Doug the Thug” Julian VanDyke, is also an artist. His impressions of his experience in Bud, Not Buddy, are on display in an art-gallery area in the former Macy’s in The Lansing Mall currently, through April 29. Check it out.
Bud, Not Buddy continues through April 29