In anticipation of seeing StoryBook Theater’s production of 3 Pigs, our 3.5-year-old son asked us to recite the story of the three little pigs at least a dozen times. We told him over and over, but each time followed up with a reminder that the play we were going to see would probably tell the story a bit differently.
Indeed, while StoryBook’s 3 Pigs sticks to the basics of the story — three pig siblings and a wolf — it significantly changes other story elements, to amusing effect.
In this production, adapted and directed by Lani Brockman, the three pigs are sisters, Calla Lily, Petunia Blossom and Sweet Pea. Each has her own distinctive trait that we learn about in entertaining and well-sung tunes.
The three sisters live a pleasant life on a farm until the brainy Sweet Pea discovers that their humans intend to make bacon out of them. Time to get outta Dodge. They choose the mud hole at the local dump as the place to build their new abode, then set about gathering the requisite materials. Misunderstandings ensue, plus they discover a certain wolf already lives at the dump.
The very hungry wolf is pleased to see the pigs, and would also be pleased to eat them. But the pig sisters cooperate, work with what they have, and after some mayhem, take a brave stand against the wolf.
Deonn Ritchie Hunt lends her sultry voice to the glamorous sister Petunia Blossom, singing, “When you’re the pig of the litter, everyone loves you.” Calla Lily, played by Brittany Menzies, is the pig sister who especially loves to eat, as in “munch and crunch and swallow.” Though smaller in stature, Abby Eagleson’s Sweat Pea, is the big idea sister. She energetically sings the sisters’ anthem, “Piggy Power.” In a deliciously flamboyant portrayal of a not very big or bad wolf, Josh Ryder nearly steals the show. As it is, all four actors display lovely singing voices and a seasoned command of the stage.
Even though the wolf seemed neither too big nor too bad to older audience members, the character scared at least a handful of the younger set. Several young audience members could be heard saying “I want to go” and at least one actually did leave the theater. Our son clutched our arms but kept watching. While the recommended ages for this show are 3-10, those with sensitive ones on the younger end, do take note.
As usual, StoryBook hits the mark with charming costumes, catchy songs and well-timed audience participation. Susan Bardsley shines yet again as uber-talented composer, lyricist and on-stage keyboard accompanist.
The choreography in this show stood out as well, with the pigs’ and wolf’s movements adding depth to their characters and energy to the production. (Adults will enjoy a few Michael Jackson moves from the wolf.) Karen Omahen choreographed.
Overall, we recommend this production as an affordable and highly enjoyable musical theater experience for families. Just try to walk out of the theater not singing “Piggy power, piggy power, piggy power, yeah!”
If you go ...
When and where: 3 Pigs plays on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Auburn Avenue Theater, on Sunday, November 4 at Everett PUD Auditorium (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.), on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 10-11 (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.), and Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 17-18 (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.) at Kirkland Performance Center, and December 2 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center in Seattle.
Weekday school group performances are also available; for details contact StoryBook Theater’s box office at 425-820-1800 ext. 102.
Tickets: $10; buy online or at the box office.
About the author: Freelance writer Nancy Chaney lives in Seattle with her husband and 3-year-old son. She edits ParentMap's Camps & Classes calendar and is a frequent contributor to ParentMap.