At 6:30 was perhaps my favorite: Playwright/director Rob Roznowski has done it again with a marvelous family road trip fable for children — but very relevant to us adults as well. The Amazing America Road Trip puts us in the car with a polarized family experiencing familiarly amusing spouse/sibling conflicts The cross-country smorgasbord of locations and vacation encounters are very entertaining. Shelby Antel and Trevor Earley get extra praise for playing 18 wildly-diverse characters the family meets along the way. Set in the Vietnam/moon-landing era, it brings some historical perspective to today’s political climate, and maybe some hope for better listening, and an appreciation of both the protectors and the givers.
At 8 pm was Peter & Wendy, Jeremy Bloom’s streamlined, action-packed take on the familiar Peter Pan story. Director Deric McNish accentuated the weirdness and action. This imaginative version featured impressive fight choreography (Mike Merluzzi) - the flying choreography/gymnastics were wonderful - not sure if that was Deric or Mike’s doing. The show had a modern, feel, but echoed some of the traditional lines I remember from the old Mary Martin/Cyril Ritchard version we used to watch on TV.
At 10 pm was Bob: A Life in Five Acts by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, directed by Matt Greenbaum. This one is “mature audiences” - a strange and funny epic with a frantic pace as Bob (Grant Cleaveland) is born and abandoned in a White Castle bathroom and caroms through his five “acts” in search of greatness and meaning. As the Director’s note promises, there are "dancing, stage combat, funny wigs, spinning things, a Gershwin tune, and genuine human connection." The whirlwind of life stages is almost too much to keep up with but it is quite a ride.
NOTE: The “pre-show” puppet making was entertainingly led, engaging the kids with all materials in individual bags, and a wonderful coloring book that relates to the first show. Before the second show, cast members surveyed the audience for “happy thoughts” that later were incorporated into the show to facilitate flying.
Full calendar of events found at http://theatre.msu.edu/productions/summer-circle-theatre/