Sometimes the silliest stories provide the most heartwarming reward. That’s exactly the case with “Pinkalicious The Musical,” Boston Children’s Theatre’s latest production, now playing in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.
Elizabeth and Victoria Kann’s popular series of picture books follows the adventures of a little girl whose single-minded determination gets her into all sorts of colorful trouble. The Kanns collaborated with composer John Gregor to transform “Pinkalicious” into a charming hourlong musical that gets just the right touch from director Mary G. Guaraldi and the talented young performers in Boston Children’s Theatre.
In the story, young Pinkalicious Pinkerton’s passion for pink goes too far when she eats so many pink cupcakes she turns pink herself, from head to toe. Pinkalicious can be a bit obnoxious with her insistence on always getting her own way, but on this stage, eighth-grader Margaret McFadden emphasizes our young heroine’s playful sense of wonder and curiosity and turns her obsession into a joyful exploration. Her occasional requests for audience participation elicit immediate responses because she has such an easygoing stage presence.
Gregor’s music, performed here by a wonderful three-piece band, is not only peppy and upbeat but offers opportunities for every member of the ensemble to shine. McFadden wins over the audience immediately with “Pinkatastic,” her joyful ode to all things pink, and then follows up with “Just One More” to illustrate her obsession with those cupcakes. After she overindulges on pink cupcakes, her parents take her to the doctor where she is diagnosed with “Pinkititis,” with Dr. Wink (Kira Shannon) performing a terrific production number to explain the illness. Pinkalicious’s little brother, Peter (Alec Shiman), plays second fiddle to her with some hilarious reactions, and then nearly steals the show with his soulful “I Got the Pink Blues.”
Choreographer Nicole Soriano creates clever combinations that illuminate the characters while advancing the story, including Dr. Wink’s use of a crutch instead of a cane for her soft-shoe, an enchanting dance of the cupcakes in Pinkalicious’s dream, and some gracefully irritating bees who mistake Pinkalicious for a flower in “Buzz Off.”
Sometimes the adults in these children’s stories are simply dismissed as authority figures, but the Kanns and Gregor create a lovely family feel even as Mr. and Mrs. Pinkerton (Chester Domoracki and Lucy Perrotta) sing “You Get Just What You Get” to encourage moderation, and “The Power of Antioxidants” to try to make eating fruits and veggies fun. Mr. and Mrs. Pinkerton also reveal their own passion for pink and realize that they can have fun too.
Despite the high sugar content of this cupcake-themed fable, the BCT production keeps it light and sweet, celebrating family and moderation without ever getting bogged down in saccharine sentimentality.
Terry Byrne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.