The John McLinn Ross Players at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff brought “The Gingerbread Man” to life on stage Tuesday during their presentation of the engaging musical.
With a book, music and lyrics by David Wood, this charming classic tale for children of all ages is set on a kitchen counter.
The Gingerbread Man, played by Russell West, newly baked by the Big Ones, meets Mr. Salt, played by Travis Thomas, Miss Pepper, played by Dominique Davis, and Herr Von Cuckoo, played by NaShall Castle, who lives in the cuckoo-clock. Cuckoo has a sore throat which is ruining his “cuckoos”, thus threatening to land him in the trash can.
Mr. Salt and Miss Pepper try to help Cuckoo, however, they’re afraid of the Old Tea Bag, played by Desiree Lucas, who lives in the teapot on the top shelf.
Despite warnings from Mr. Salt and Miss Pepper, The Gingerbread Man still ventures to the top shelf in order to get honey to help Cuckoo recover his voice.
The Gingerbread Man encounters the Old Tea Bag, who refuses to help Cuckoo because she said his cuckoos were annoying. The Gingerbread Man does, however, manage to steal the honey and takes it to Cuckoo.
The Gingerbread Man’s efforts to help Cuckoo’s sore throat are hampered once again by the villainous scavenger, Sleek the Mouse, played by Jibri Robinson.
Once the Big Ones are aware that a mouse is in the house, they set out poison to destroy the vermin, but instead Cuckoo is poisoned.
The Gingerbread Man suggests to Mr. Salt and Miss Pepper to seek the help of the Old Tea Bag, who can use her herbs to make Cuckoo better. The Gingerbread Man ventures back to the top shelf to seek the assistance of the Old Tea Bag.
The Gingerbread Man and the Old Tea Bag come together to defeat Sleek the Mouse and, in turn, Cuckoo regains his voice and is not thrown in the trash.
“Supplementing a child’s classroom learning through the art of theatre and live storytelling creates performers and theatre lovers for the future,” said Cheryl Collins, director of theatre.
The final performance of “The Gingerbread Man” will be held today at 3 p.m. in the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center on the campus of UAPB.
Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for children and students, and $6 each for groups of 20 or more.