Dear Edwina JR.
Have you ever wondered how to properly set a table? How about what to do when you don’t speak the same language as someone else? Well, Edwina Spoonapple has the advice you need. As I left Lincoln Cultural Center last night, I had a super catchy song stuck in my head. You see, I got a sneak peak of Dear Edwina JR. directed by Paula Sutter. As I watched the show, a feeling of happiness came over me. "A musical comedy for kids," says a tag line for the show, but that somewhat undersells it. There's so much musical comedy for every audience in this fun loving little show, filled with songs and laughter. Dear Edwina JR. is a heart tugging musical about the joys and struggles of growing up. This musical powerhouse is a “show-within-a-show” format and a perfect “girl power” musical for a new generation.
Dear Edwina JR. follows the adventures of plucky advice-giver-extraordinaire, Edwina Spoonapple, as she directs the neighborhood kids in a series of energetic production numbers for the most recent edition of her weekly "Advice-a-Palooza.” Edwina and her friends share wisdom on everything from trying new foods to making new friends through clever, catchy and knowledge filled songs.
Edwina herself, Larrigan Saindon, brings a sweetness to the character. I stopped to ask her a few questions after the rehearsal. I began by asking her how the character was the same and/or different from her. Larrigan states, “I can be bossy sometimes, and I can relate to the age and giving advice.” And for the difference, Larrigan states that she is not sure if she could ever do her own show. I also asked her what she loves about her character. “She is lovable. She goes through a lot of emotions and everyone sees it.”
Her biggest challenge at playing Edwina is how sad and shocked her character can be, and playing all those emotions together. Larrigan let me know that her favorite line in the show is when she shouts “Scott!” from backstage. Everyone has a dream when they grow up; for Larrigan, it is something involving music or theatre. When I asked her what show she would bring to the area with a magic wand… “Anastasia.” I whole heartedly agree, Larrigan.
Featuring a host of supporting roles and 35 incredible cast members, Dear Edwina JR. provides 70 minutes of non-stop love, laughter, and pure joy. In “Fork, Knife, Spoon” the notes hit by Avery Simmons are nothing short of beautiful, while Sara Bowman’s speed singing is done with precision.
I could not help but want to hula to “Hola, Lola”, snort with the pigs in “Put It in the Piggy”, and feel the need to hug Kate during “Sing Your Own Song”. Speaking of which, I would say “Sing Your Own Song” has to be my favorite of all. It teaches you that being yourself is ok. In this day and age, it's the best advice of all.
I couldn’t leave the night without asking the director, Paula Sutter, a few questions as well. Paula states that she “LOVES working with the kids. They are amazing!” I also asked her what she wants the audience to be thinking about in the car as they drive home after this show. She replied, “The stories the songs tell, but they'll also think about the crazy talent these kids have!” It is no surprise that the talent of the kids is beyond remarkable. Most of them are around 10-13 years old, and they have great vocals and characters.
I want to thank the Director - Paula Sutter, Assistant Director - Gina Skoumal, Vocal Director - Alyssa Norden, Choreographer - Grant Sparenberg, and the amazing cast of characters for allowing me to come see the show. I, without a doubt, give this show two thumbs up and all the tens.