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Get Buggy with a Worm, a Spider and a Fly

Submitted by on May 23, 2012 – 7:18 pm2 Comments

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Full Cast

by Mina Frannea

In its regional Southwest premiere, Dallas Children’s Theater’s Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly artfully weaves together three of Doreen Cronin’s popular children’s books. Directed by Joan Cushing, Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly brings to life a cast of lively and colorful characters. The show combines engaging story lines with interesting facts designed to educate the audience about each of the characters. The factual tidbits are nicely done via a large screen in the background, classroom show & tell sessions and occasional “pop up” appearances by the cast that are quite funny! The production also incorporates several high energy musical/dance arrangements featuring hip hop, rap, ballads and boogie-woogie music.

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Butterfly and Ant

The story is about three adolescent arthropods, Fly (Lindsay Gee), Spider (Adam Garst) and Worm (Clinton Greenspan), who dream about doing great things in their lives, and who also struggle with life challenges that are relatable. The characters express their thoughts via entries in their diaries. Spider dreams of the day that he will grow up enough to molt. Fly wants her own space and she wants to be a super hero, someone who people look up to, when she grows up. Worm deals with insecurity issues and doesn’t feel like there is anything special about him. As the plot unfolds, we are drawn into each character’s journey, celebrating each respective milestone that is achieved. Gee, Garst and Greenspan were outstanding!

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Dallas Children's Theater

Along with Worm, Spider and Fly, the show introduces Ant (Akron Watson), Butterfly (Alexandra Valle) and Mrs. McBee (Amber Nicole Guest). B.J. Cleveland, also a star of the show, made us laugh out loud by stealing many a scene with the zany antics of his multiple roles! Below you can see him as the very hip DJ and sweet Aunt Rita. I really liked the diversity and uniqueness of each character.

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - BJ Cleveland

Set designer Randel Wright has outdone himself with the sets for this show. The primary backdrop is a 20 foot high landscape/eco-system that houses the three main cast members. Fly’s home is in the trunk of a huge tree that she shares with her numerous siblings. The roots of the tree grow into land that comprises underground tunnels where Worm lives. A giant spider web across from Fly’s home is where Spider resides with his family. The set is quite tall, but we had no issues seeing the entire stage from Section B, where we were sitting.

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Set

There were a number of entertaining scenes like the one with the HUGE vacuum cleaner. Ant, a martial arts enthusiast, showed a lot of bravado when he first encountered the giant machine; however, like the other characters, he was quick to realize that the best course of action was to RUN!

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Ant and the Vacuum

Another favorite scene was the Dragnet skit with its iconic opening phrase “Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true.”

Opening Night Festivities

We attended Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly on opening night and it was so much fun! My daughter loved the fly that she got painted on her cheek and my son thought the spider on his hand was really cool. We also got to pet a few special creatures courtesy of the Dallas Zoo. Look at this gorgeous owl that we were able to see up close!

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Opening Night - Owl from Dallas Zoo

Opening night usually features a special treat during intermission and we were not disappointed. This time, Purple Cow provided sandwiches and wraps, and dirt sundaes with purple ice cream that was vanilla flavored — YUM!

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Purple Cow - Dirt Sundae

Post Show Fun

My twins look forward to the post show meet and greets at Dallas Children’s Theater. They love being able to talk to the cast, get their autographs and have pictures taken with them. This is a highlight of the whole DCT experience for our family.

Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly - Post show meet & greet

Besides the diverse characters, I really enjoyed the forethought that went into fusing education with entertainment and the overall eco-conscious message that is conveyed by Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly. I also loved that the costumes were eclectic yet simple, and not scary for little ones. The musical numbers were also fun, but I would have preferred a bit more character dialogue in the first act.

We enjoyed Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly a lot and your family will too. This show is appropriate for age 4 and up; total performance time is about an hour and a half with a 20 minute intermission. This production is playing at the Dallas Children’s Theater through June 3, 2012. Tickets can be purchased through their box office by calling 214-740-0051 or online through their website at www.dct.org.

Mina Frannea is a freelance writer and a social media consultant. A Mom to eight-year-old twins, Mina enjoys writing about life in general, family friendly activities around town, favorite recipes and crafts that keep her children busy and happy. For more posts by Mina, visit her blog at www.themomsjournal.com.

Disclosure: Dallas Children’s Theater invited me to this performance of Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly. The above represents my personal opinion of this production.

Images #1-7 courtesy of Karen Almond Photography

 

 

 

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