By Heidi Sutton
Travel down any country road on Long Island this October and you are sure to come upon a farmstand overflowing with round pumpkins. But there’s only one place where you can find a square pumpkin by the name of Spookley who has an important message for all of us.
In partnership with the Smithtown Historical Society, the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts presents an outdoor production of Spookley the Square Pumpkin The Musical on the society’s grounds through Oct. 31.
Complete with pumpkins, scarecrows, friendly ghosts, bats, spiders, bugs and a pair of watermelons, with lots of singing and dancing, the show is a great way for young children to celebrate autumn and get excited for Halloween. Based on the popular book series by Joe Troiano, it tells the story of a square pumpkin living in a round pumpkin patch and his struggle to fit in.
It’s Halloween on Holiday Hill Farm and that means it’s time for Farmer Hill to choose a pumpkin to be the Pick of the Patch. We meet the top contenders — Bobo the perfectly round pumpkin whose ego “grows and grows” (“I’m so pretty I glow!”) and Big Tom and Little Tom who are attached by a vine.
When Spookley appears, he is teased by Little Tom who tells him that he doesn’t belong because he looks different. Spookley’s new friends, spiders Edgar, Allen and Poe and Scarecrow Jack, try to convince him to run for the Pick of the Patch contest, but his confidence has been shaken. When a strong storm rolls all of the round pumpkins towards the river, the square pumpkin discovers the chance to prove his own worth and save the day.
Directed by Jordan Hue, with musical direction by Melissa Coyle, choreography by Courtney Braun and costumes by Ronnie Green, the talented cast of 13 give a flawless performance and succeed in bringing this important story to life during National Bullying Prevention Month with the ultimate message that was makes you different makes you special.
Kieran Brown returns to reprise his role as Spookley and does an excellent job. Never breaking out of his square character, he has the audience rooting for him from the beginning. And wait until you hear him sing! Brown’s rendition of “If I Was Round” and “I’m Gonna Try” leaves you wanting more.
Gabrielle Arroyo, last seen as the bus driver in “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!,” shines in “She’s Bobo” and “The Transylvania Twist” and the whole cast has fun with “The Boo Song.”
As Big Tom and Little Tom, Kenny Arroyo and Max Lamberg are hilarious and Stephanie Nigro, Adrienne Porti and Justin Walsh Weiner as Edgar, Allan and Poe are terrific as no-nonsense spiders. Ari Spiegel, as Boris the Bat with a vivacious appetite is always interrupted from snacking on a spider or bug by his vegan friend, Bella the Bat played by Gabby Blum, a nice touch.
Emerson Lebrecht and Ava Bernardo return as cute watermelons Mimi and Lala (how did they end up in a pumpkin patch?). Savannah Shaw sparkles as Bug and newcomer Tristan Prin as Jack Scarecrow and Farmer Hill tackles the dual role with ease.
The special effects, beautiful set, and adorable costumes pull it all together for a spooktacular Halloween show your kids will love.
The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts presents Spookley the Square Pumpkin the Musical on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown on various dates and times through Oct. 31. Running time is one hour with no intermission. While folding chairs are available, theatergoers are welcome to bring blankets or chairs for seating and bathrooms are available on the premises. Tickets are $18 per person. To order, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.
See a quick video from the show here.