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Saturday 1 August 2015

The Day the Crayons Quit: The Musical

Recently we got to experience one of our favorite books and one of our favorite places together in the most wonderful way.

"The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, has been brought to life by Bay Area Children's Theatre as a musical. As fantastic as that sounds, it gets even better. The performance was held at Children's Fairyland.

"The Day the Crayons Quit" is a huge favorite in our home. More often than not it's Lola's first choice of books for a bedtime story. So when the girls heard that they were going to see a live performance of the book, they were super excited. The chance to spend the day at Fairyland after the performance was just the icing on the cake.

The story features Duncan, a young boy who just loves to color. It's his favorite thing to do at school. But one day when he pulls out his crayon box he discovers a pile of letters instead of his trusty crayons. The crayons all have a bone to pick with Duncan and they've gone on strike until something is done about it. Some, like Red and Blue feel overworked. Pink complains that he hasn't been used all year because Duncan sees him as a girls' color. Black is upset that she is only used for outlines. Yellow and Orange are no longer speaking because they both feel that they are the true color of the sun. Purple can't stand any of her beautiful color going outside of the lines. Peach feels embarrassed to leave the crayon box due to Duncan peeling off his wrapper leaving him naked.

The musical adaptation by Austin Zumbro captures the personality of each crayon. The story is told through catchy, well written songs with a different style for each crayon. We all found ourselves singing along to Black Crayon's hopeful "More than an Outline" and had the tune stuck in our heads for the rest of the day. Even now, just typing that has brought it back to my mind and I'm finding myself humming it.

The choreography, costumes and props are simple yet perfectly suited to the book and the audience. Each crayon is simply dressed in their color. I'd kind of half expected to see actors in crayon costumes but this approach is a refreshingly simple sight. It also allows for the personality of each crayon to show. Yellow and Orange are dressed in happy, sunny dresses. Purple is prim and proper. Beige is reclusive and shy in his trench coat. Peach is naked. Well, kind of.

The props are equally simple but just perfect for the production. The crayons protest with hand written signs. They emphasize the points of their complaints with colored drawings, whether it be of what they already color or of what they would like to color. Beige dumps piles of wheat on the stage in protest of the fact that all he gets to color is wheat. He later appears during Yellow and Oranges friendly argument about the true color of the sun to sweep it all up off the floor. Peach has the crowd roaring with laughter as the other crayons tried to cover up his nakedness with their well placed signs as he danced about. The kids thought this was absolutely hilarious.

Just like the book, the musical has a happy ending with Duncan coming up with a solution to make all of the crayons happy.

Ava and Lola both agreed that their favorite character from the production was Pink Crayon. Coming in next were Peach Crayon and Beige Crayon. What the girls didn't seem to notice though, was that all three of these characters were played by the same actor!

What I loved about this musical is that it's fun for parents as well as kids. Children's entertainment can often be a little on the boring side for grown ups but not so with this production. Kim and I both honestly enjoyed the production and I really feel that it did justice to the book.

While the musical's run at Fairyland has now come to an end, performances will continue throughout August at Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco. Children's Creativity Museum is another one of our favourite places to spend a day and a great little theatre where we've seen several performances in the past.

If you're in the Bay Area and your kids are fans of "The Day the Crayons Quit", get yourself to a show. Your kids will love it. You will love it. It's such a fun performance for the whole family.

Little Hiccups readers can take 10% off tickets to The Day the Crayons quit with the code CRAYONS7. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

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