That's me in the purple scarf. The kid next to me is Melissa Gilbert's son. He plays Willie Oleson, Nellie's sister, in the show.
The 'Yummies' and the cast looking up at Rachael as she takes our picture.
I'll let you in on a little secret. My husband knows this about me, but I'll share it with you, too. I have two brains. I see a show from two (sometimes very different) perspectives. I have my critical 'theatre brain'. This brain agrees with what Richard Ouzounian said in his Toronto Star review. This brain sees set doors that are built and not used. Why did Pa just walk through the wall?! This brain watches as Laura and Almanzo jump off the wagon they're speeding along in as the sing to each other (in that the-other-person-can't-hear-me-singing fashion). OMG! Stay on the buggy, for pete's sake! This brain listens to the music and hears overly-simplicstic lyrics and not one stand out song. Are they singing AGAIN?! This brain wonders why the hell Mary's little sister, Carrie, just ran off without her BLIND sister in a terrible fire as the fields burned. What just happened? This brain watches three separate occassions that seem to be nearing climax, but it never happens. Girls, don't you just hate that?! This brain wonders why they even bothered to show the couple Laura was staying with while she taught in a neighbouring town - and moreso, why did they give the wife a song of her own? Well, that was useless. This brain wonders why 'Pa' is glaringly obviously not playing that fiddle! Can ya fake it a bit better please? I'm having Milli Vanilli flashbacks.
Oh ya, another thing my 'theatre brain' was critical of was this. It likely won't happen on many nights of the run, if ever again, but one of the domino effects of Melissa Gilbert being sick that night was that 'Eliza Wilder' had to step into the role of 'Ma'. That meant that 'Eliza's understudy had to step into that part. That understudy happened to black, which would generally be absolutely fine. In this case however, that means that Almanzo and Eliza Wilder were interracial siblings. Not very likely to have happened in the Prairie's in the late 1800s.
Now, for my other brain. My other brain has the ability to remove itself from these foibles. My other brain can sit back and thoroughly enjoy something that my 'theatre brain' would tear apart. I credit this other brain for my love of cheesy disaster movies. I do. I love 'Volcano' and 'Armageddon' and all that other crap out there. Hell, I even enjoyed 'The Core'. I KNOW!
My other brain did enjoy this show. My other brain loved the content of 'Ma's song when she was singing about how she could possibly be raising two such different daughters; she wonders what she has done to have them turn out as they have. My other brain loved watching the stories unfold on stage that I know deep in my heart from watching for all those years. My other brain liked the over-the-top portrayal of Nellie. My other brain could dismiss 'Pa's lack of fiddlin' skills and enjoy the number, smiling along with the Ingalls. My other brain is looking forward to going to see the show again. We have tickets to go again in February as part of our regular subscription. Although he can overlook some things and enjoy the show, Jean-Paul does not have this 'other brain'. He will not be going to see the show again. He's on side with Richard O of the Toronto Star and J Kelly Nestruck of the Globe and Mail.
Little House on the Praire: The Musical runs until February 28 at the Canon Theatre in Toronto (formerly The Pantages). You can click on the link at the side of this page for tickets. Make sure to quote FAITH to get them as low as $25.
Please comment and let me know if you're planning to see it and what you thought!