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Daniel Bishop

By Heidi Sutton

Children’s theater continues at The John W. Engeman Theater with The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. The adorable show, based on the first in a series of books by Jeff Brown, follows the adventures of Stanley Lambchop (Daniel Bishop) who lives with his parents (Michael Fasciano and Suzanne Mason) and his brother Arthur (Jae Hughes). His mailman, Mr Cartero (Patrick McCowen) serves as narrator and introduces Stanley as an average 10-year-old kid who has big dreams.

At bedtime, Stanley and his brother see a falling star and make a wish. While Arthur wishes for an A on his science project, Stanley wishes to travel and “do amazing things the world has never seen before.” In the middle of the night a bulletin board above his bed crashes down on him and flattens him like a pancake.

At first, Stanley and his parents are alarmed and take him to Dr. Dan for an evaluation but he is as perplexed (and confused) as they are. When Stanley goes to school, his classmates tie him to a string and fly him like a kite until he gets stuck in a tree. Then Stanley realizes the advantage of his two-dimensional position and, for the price of a stamp, mails himself in a letter to California to visit a friend. 

From there he mails himself to Paris and poses as a painting in the Louvre next to Napoleon and Mona Lisa to catch a sneak thief, and then heads to Hawaii to star as a surfboard in a movie. In the end Stanley realizes that home is the best address but will he remain flat forever?

Directed and choreographed by Danny Meglio, the five talented cast members, playing multiple roles, put on a terrific show. The question on everyone’s mind was how a flat character would appear on stage but the clever costume does the trick.

The song and dance numbers are a delight to watch with special mention to Bishop’s solo “I Wish I Were … A Hero,” “The Funny Sunny Side,” “Talent'” with a great soft-shoe number and Hughes’ heartfelt solo, “Arthur’s Letter.” 

With the message to look for a little adventure in everything you do, this imaginative and clever show is flat-out fun. Meet, greet and sign autographs with the cast after the show in the lobby. An autograph page is conveniently located at the back of the program.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St. Northport presents The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through July 2 with a sensory friendly performance on June 10 at 11 a.m. Up next is Cinderella from July 22 to Aug. 27. All seats are $20. For more information or to order, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com. 

By Heidi Sutton

Wowie wow wow! Look who has taken up residence at the Engeman Theater in Northport! It’s Junie B. Jones, the outspoken and lovable six-year-old from the pages of Barbara Park’s best-selling children’s books starring in  Junie B. Jones The Musical. The delightful show, which opened last Saturday, runs through Aug. 28. 

Created by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, the play is an adaptation of four of Park’s books where Junie B. Jones navigates the ups and downs of first grade at Clarence Elementary School. When her mother gives her a Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal on her first day of school, Junie B. decides to record the school year and before long is filling the pages with her many adventures. 

While Junie B. is under the impression that things will be no different than last year, they are very different. In her first week, she finds that her best friend from kindergarten Lucille has found two new best friends – Camille and Chenille – because their names rhyme; the girl who she used to sit with in on the bus in kindergarten prefers to sit with someone else; she makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school; and she finds that she has trouble reading the blackboard — and she may need glasses. Grrrr. 

Add in the friendly cafeteria lady Mrs. Gutzman, a new lunchbox, Show & Tell, and an intense kickball tournament and you have the makings of a lovely morning of live theater.

Directed by Danny Meglio with musical direction by Luca Iallondardi and choreography by Jillian Sharpe, the six-member adult cast embrace the adorable script and transport back in time to elementary school and all the anxieties and life lessons that go with it.

Katie Dolce is perfectly cast as Junie B. Jones. From the minute she appears on stage, all eyes are on her and she quickly becomes an audience favorite with her sassy personality.

The incredible and versatile supporting cast — Daniel Bishop, Miranda Jo DeMott, Olivia Giorgio, Thomas Higgins and Alyssa Infranco — play multiple roles throughout the show including Junie B’s parents, her teacher Mr. Scary, her friends and classmates and seem to be having the time of their lives.

The fun-filled songs are the heart of the show, from the opening number “Top Secret Personal Beeswax” to the group finale, “Writing Down the Songs of My Life,” and are perfectly executed with special mention to the kickline number, “Gladys Gutzman.” 

Funny, entertaining and entirely relatable, Junie B. Jones The Musical  is a summer treat for young children and parents alike. 

Sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Junie B. Jones The Musical on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Running time is 1 1/2 hours with one intermission. Tickets are $20. To order, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.