Saturday Morning Derby Dinner Playhouse kicked off the new season of Children's Musical Theatre with "Miss Nelson is Missing." The story is based on the book by Harry Allard & James Marshall. The house was pretty full for the 9:00am show.
I had the pleasure of enjoying the production with my three and six year old kids. They really are the true test of a good show. When we arrived, we were greeted by friendly staff and seated "in the round." The breakfast buffet is included for the children's series shows at 9:00am, the 11:00am shows include a lunch buffet. Breakfast generally includes fruit, scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, french toast sticks, ham, hash browns, milk, coffee, tea, and water. The buffet was stocked, hot and fresh and we had ample time to enjoy our meal before the program.
"Bravo the Star" took stage to warm up the crowd. He sang an upbeat and interactive song "...with the magic of theater, you can be a star" giving the kids an opportunity to yell "yeah" here and there. Bravo also went over some general announcements and housekeeping including some of the rules you follow when in school.
Becki Jo Schneider, Owner/Producer, joined Bravo to go over a great deal for Children's Series patrons who might want to become season pass holders. Definitely something to check into, as big savings were offered.
The stage is set as the "Horace B. Smedley Elementary School" and the students sing an opening song to pay homage. Miss Nelson's classroom is pretty clever with four desks (which double as a large desk later), a transparent chalkboard, good use of primary colors and an area for story time. I don't believe there is a bad seat in the house, you should be able to see well from anywhere. The production moves around the stage, the actors rotate during scenes and a couple things take place in the aisles.
Room 207, Miss Nelson's class, is the worst class in the whole school which is illustrated pretty well during the song "The Worst Kids of All!" They throw paper wads, jump rope, drum on desks, you name it...all while Miss Nelson is trying to teach. She realizes that something must be done.
We also meet the principal, Mr. Blandsford, whose name is very fitting, when he comes in to tell the class they will have a "special" substitute teacher for the day. The class gets excited and makes plans to be terrible and do what they please...until they meet "Mrs. Swamp"
This teacher means business and immediately gets down to it. She even admits that she's "meaner than Miss Hannigan." After piling on an impossible amount of homework, the kids are crying for Miss Nelson. They break into "What if" going over the many places she might be, including "What if she's stuck at the Sherman Minton Bridge, that would be typical." Big audience applause here!
The students want Miss Nelson back and vow to be the best students from now on. They wrote a letter for their beloved Miss Nelson with hopes she will return. This musical has a happy ending and is well worth the ticket price. Kim Haley said "I was delighted that it held the attention of my restless 3 year old. She really got into the show! And it entertained Mommy, Daddy, and big sis too!"
Public performances run October 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5 & 12, 2011. For ticket information please call 812-288-8281 or visit www.derbydinner.com.
The next production is "A Velveteen Rabbit Christmas" and is selling out fast. Santa will be at every show and Derby Dinner will be collecting for "Toys for Tots" through December 10th.
Photo source: Derby Dinner Playhouse