'Captain Louie,' at the York Theatre

Captain Louie a family musical by Stephen Schwartz and Anthony Stein, at the York Theatre from the 4 May - 12 Jun 2005

Captain Louie is the story of young Louie, who feels lonely and without friends in his new neighborhood. Looking for something to cheer him up on Halloween night, he builds a cityscape in a shoebox. What follows is a fantastical journey on the wings of his favorite toy: a little red plane. The plane goes from toy size to Louie size, carrying the boy on a flight over the sparkling lights of the City, to a surprising but joyous reunion with his friends from the old neighborhood.

Although the story is set on Halloween, the imagery is not the familiar 'gothic' style. Rather, it is characterized by the style of the book (Ezra Jack Keats' "The Trip") upon which the musical is based: a splendor of cityscape pastels, cut-out animal characters and kids in geometric Halloween costumes with just a touch of mystery and urban grit.

The multi-racial cast is predominantly young and features Brandon M. Arrington, Alexio Barboza, Jodie Bentley, Jimmy Dieffenbach, Kelsey Fatebene, Sara Kapner, Ronny Mercedes, Sarah Stiles, and Mark Whitten.

The production is directed by Meridee Stein, with sets by Jeff Subik and costumes by Elizabeth Flauto, both based on the original designs (and illustrations) of Ezra Jack Keats; musical direction by Edward Barnes, multi-media by the Joshua Light Show created by Joshua White, choreography by Joshua Bergasse

The musical will be a re-imagining of a production that Meridee Stein first directed and produced in 1983, first at the Kennedy Center and then for her First All-Children's Theater. For the current production, Anthony Stein has added a new character and two scenes for which Mr. Schwartz has added two songs.

Mr. Schwartz has said in published interviews that his additions weren't because the first show needed fixing, but because there was an opportunity to expand on an older work. He has stressed the importance of bringing children and their families into the Theater and maintains a personal commitment to it. He regards the craft of writing for children the same as writing for adults; only the subjects are different. "You never 'write down' (for children). In fact, the only thing I was conscious of when I wrote the score was that the children's vocal range was more limited than that of adult professionals."

Captain Louie is produced by The York Theatre Company in association with Meridee Stein, Pam Koslow and Kurt Peterson.

Originally published on

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