By Heidi Sutton
With the temperatures projected to reach into the 90s for the next few days, it’s time for parents to search for fun indoor activities for their children. May I suggest a visit to Theatre Three to see the adorable show Goldilocks and the Showbiz Bears.
Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin Story, the musical is loosely based on the classic bedtime story with several twists and turns along the way as well as the introduction of a noteworthy superhero and a lesson in safety. With a clever script, lovable characters, song and dance, it is the perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon.
We first meet Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear, show biz bears who have retired from the circus and are now living in a cottage in the woods. It’s the first of the month and the banker, Billy de Goat Gruff, has come to collect the rent money, which they don’t have. The grouchy goat gives them until the end of the day or they will be kicked out. While their porridge is cooling down, the bears decide to go for a walk to think of ways to come up with the rent.
In the meantime, Goldilocks, a Campfire Bluebird Pioneer Scout Girl who lives with her grandmother Granny Locks, sets off to her cousin’s house to deliver cookies. She ends up at the cottage of the three bears by mistake and lets herself in. Just like the fairy tale, Goldilocks tastes the three bowls of porridge, sits in the three chairs and tries out the three beds, choosing Baby Bear’s bed in which to take a nap because it is “just right.”
When Granny Locks realizes that Goldilocks has not arrived at her destination, she seeks the help of local forest ranger Wolf Hunter to find the missing girl. They arrive at the cottage of the three bears just as Baby Bear realizes that “someone’s been sleeping in my bed, and she’s still there!” Luckily the bears are friendly — they even know Granny Locks from their circus days when she was Eloise the trapeze artist.
But the banker still wants his rent money, so the group puts on a show to help young people learn about safety to raise the funds. Soon all the children in the audience are learning about the importance of staying safe and that “strangers can mean danger — so don’t talk to strangers.”
Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the seven member adult cast does a wonderful job conveying the story. Cassidy Rose O’Brien, complete with a blond curly wig that bounces when she walks, is the perfect Goldilocks, confident and brave. Jason Furnari embraces the role of villain Billy de Goat Gruff and runs with it, with a masterful performance reminiscent of Barnaby in Babes in Toyland, as he makes his rounds to collect the rent from fairy tale characters including Henny Penny and the witch living in the Gingerbread House. The long cape and horns coming out of his hat is a nice touch.
Liam Marsigliano shines as superhero Wolf Hunter, Forest Ranger, who’s “ready to help when there is danger.” Steven Uihlein, Jillian Sharpe and Kiernan Urso in the roles of Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear are three of the nicest showbiz bears you’d ever hope to meet and Ginger Dalton as Granny Locks is warm and welcoming. Excellent performances all around.
Expert lighting by Steven Uihlein and costumes by Jason Allyn, from the furry ears and feet of the three bears to the impressive forest ranger uniform, tie it all together for a wonderful afternoon at the theater. This show only comes around every five years so don’t miss it! Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for keepsake photos.
Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Goldilocks and the Show Biz Bears on Fridays, July 14, 21 and 28 and Saturdays, July 15, 22 and 29. All shows start at 11 a.m. Children’s theater continues with Alice’s Most Decidedly Unusual Adventures in Wonderland from Aug. 4 to 12 and Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 7 to 21. Tickets are $12 per person. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.