A donkey who looks a little like a young Wolfman Jack and yearns for a singing career. A dog who was tossed out when she got too old to chase. A cat with a nervous disposition. And a rooster with more than a passing resemblance to the king of rock 'n' roll.
Such is the roster of newfound friends in “The Bremen Musicians,” a world-premiere musical for youngsters (ages 4 and older) at Classika Theatre.
Adapted from those versatile Brothers Grimm, the show, which opened Jan. 12 to a sold-out audience, details the story of four farm animals who chuck it all and head to the big city, looking for fame.
Along the way, they sing - mostly a capella - and stave off a number of bad folks, ranging from owners who tell them to skedaddle to a flim-flam artist who steals their first day's receipts from performing. (As Homer Simpson once said: “The first rule of the music business is, never trust anyone in the music business.”)
Coming in at about an hour, the show is another in a line of successes for Synetic director Nicholas Allen, who has teamed up with composer John Milosich this time around. There is plenty of humor and madcap adventure along the way.
The cast is uniformly fine, starting with Jason Wilson, who brings a dollop of humanity to the role of the donkey with big dreams. Elizabeth Parsons (the cat), Jessie Dulaney (the aging dog) and Kyle Schliefer (the narcissistic rooster) all fill their roles well. Amanda Thickpenny has the fun of playing a succession of baddies, one right after the other.
Collectively, the singing quality was OK, but somewhat uneven. (I hear you say: Hey, it was their first show, cut them some slack.)
Allen enthusiastically warmed up the crowd, and the energy continued through the show. Milosich's music was a bit hit-or-miss at times, but helped move along the plot.
Evgenia Salazar deserves good credit for the costuming, which was quite fetching.
The production is a creative take on a tale that combines both fun and a lesson. What could be better?
“The Bremen Musicians” continues through March 12 at Classika Theatre, 4041 Campbell Ave. in Shirlington. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For tickets, call (703) 824-6200 or see the Web site at www.classika.org.