From Chicago Theatre Review
A Tuneful Tale About Teeth
March 19, 2018
By Colin Douglas
In Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt’s charming 2007 picture book, lavishly illustrated by David Slonim, the Tooth Fairy is the main character. She’s saucy, filled with attitude and as lovable as fried chicken and waffles. But Lifeline’s delectable and enchanting new confection, a world premiere for young audiences, has been adapted with originality, spirit and style by Lifeline company members, Heather Currie and Derek Czaplewski, and features an infectious score and lyrics by Laura McKenzie. Imagine the jubilant bounce and bliss of a “Schoolhouse Rock” ditty, and you have an idea of how pleasurable this little 60-minute musical can be.
This adaptation changes the point of view of the book. It imagines that the Tooth Fairy has finally realized that, with the world’s population exploding, she simply unable to collect so many children’s teeth all by herself. So, when “a Mysterious Voice” announces to the fairy world that the Tooth Fairy will be looking for some additional help, sweet little Dew Drop, or Didi, as she likes to be called, thinks this is the perfect position for her. She’s always worshipped the Tooth Fairy, imagining the beautiful gowns that she most likely wears on her rounds. So Didi takes her application, her infectious giggle and her sense of style to apply in person at Command Central.
There she meets the Tooth Fairy’s lightning bug helpers: Flash, Twinkle and Fresnel. Each is a unique individual with special talents and skills. They immediately take to Didi and endeavor to help her complete her strict training. The three convince the Tooth Fairy that this young fairy is not only a great apprentice, with a knack for quick learning, but will be the perfect new Assistant Tooth Fairy. By the end of play, children will understand that it’s really not easy being the Tooth Fairy.
Beautifully directed by adaptor Heather Currie, this wonderful little musical is perfect for children ages five and up, but adults will easily fall under its spell, as well. She’s incorporated the aisles and brought the show right into the laps of her audience. With a creative scenic design by Lizzie Bracken, extraordinarily colorful and sparkly costumes by Brenda Winstead, flashy lighting by Diane D. Fairchild, magical sound by Joe Griffin and some very funny, gigantic props by Jenny Pinson, this is one show bound to become a new favorite. It will no doubt prompt children to want to buy their own copy of the picture book (available for sale in the lobby) or, at the very least, check it out of their local library.
The Tooth Fairy is played by the talented Diana Coates, whose strong vocals, stylistic dance moves and finger-snapping attitude provokes smiles and laughter from start to finish. She’s the queen of this production and Ms. Coates certainly wears her crown with finesse and savoir-faire. She’s matched tooth-for-tooth by young Darian Tene as Dew Drop. This petite bundle of dynamite has the biggest, most beautiful smile imaginable and she knows how to use it. She grabs her young audience’s attention from the very first moments and holds them in the palm of her little hand until the final bows. Darian sings, dances and charms the enamel off every incisor. Together these two actors are terrific.
But not to be outdone, Chris Causer is simply stellar as the leader of the bugs, Flash. And flash he does. A skilled singer/dancer, Mr. Causer is a pacesetting pilot who guides the entire cast. As Twinkle, Benjamin Ponce is pure joy as the bug who most closely identifies with Dew Drop’s penchant for style and flair. As funny as he is tall, this terrific actor is a gentle giant in this role. And Brian Tochterman Jr. is unexpectedly hilarious as the cerebral chief of Command Central. With his superior intellect and love of big words, Fresnel is literally the green lantern, the emerald-colored bug who has his finger on the pulse of the whole operation. Without these three bug boys, we see that the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t be nearly as successful at what she does.
All over the world kids are continually losing their teeth as they grow toward adulthood. A self described, “action kind of gal,” the Tooth Fairy begins to understand that the job has become more than one fairy can handle. Flashing with energy and attitude, the Tooth Fairy teaches Didi, her new helper, how to balance on a fast-flying hover board, to locate children’s lost molars with her Tooth-o-Finder, to skillfully dodge the curious paws of hiding cats, dogs and gerbils and to deposit a shiny quarter where each child can find it. This charming, tuneful tale about teeth, and the fairies who love them, will bring a polished grin to every audience member.
From Splash Magazines
Magical Fairy Fun
March 19, 2018
By Jessie Bond
Even mythical figures get overwhelmed by their workload sometimes; such is the premise of You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, a musical adaptation of a picture book by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt now playing as part of Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries. In it, the Tooth Fairy (Diana Coates) is seeking a second fairy to help manage her ever-increasing workload of tooth collection, and Dew Drop (Darian Tene), an enthusiastic, Tooth-Fairy obsessed young woman, thinks she’s just the fairy for the job.
Dew Drop finds herself at Command Central, where a team of lightning bugs (complete with light-up butts, much to the delight of the children in the audience) named Flash (Christopher Causer), Twinkle (Benjamin Ponce), and Fresnel (Brian Tochterman Jr.) introduce Dew Drop to the behind-the-scenes operations that keep the Tooth Fairy in business. Eventually, Dew Drop meets the Tooth Fairy herself, and while the Tooth Fairy is skeptical of Dew Drop’s inexperience, she nevertheless agrees to train her in such skills as tooth detection, pet avoidance, and riding a tooth-shaped hoverboard.
The show is filled with fun, upbeat music with the slightest bit of hip-hop influence. Delightful little surprises in the design work, like the aforementioned lightning bug butts or the sparkly, oversized muffins Twinkle semi-compulsively bakes, add a magical touch to the show. And the acting work of the entire ensemble, charged with the task of portraying fantastical, cartoonish characters without losing the touch of humanity that makes them believable, is well-crafted and engaging as well.
The play seems to indicate with a song about how “the sparkle doesn’t make the fairy” that the show’s primary lesson is that appearances aren’t what’s most important. While that’s certainly a valuable message, what struck me as the most meaningful insight the show offers is the idea that hard work is what leads to success. Oftentimes in children’s movies, the protagonist is wildly underqualified for whatever task they’re undertaking, but simply by believing in themselves or wanting it enough, they’re able to succeed.
Dew Drop certainly has the passion to be the Tooth Fairy, but it’s made clear from the beginning that this alone will not be enough to earn her the job. She has to practice her skills, including things she isn’t naturally good at—like lifting quarters, which are comically heavy for the presumably pint-sized fairies. And she has to adjust her expectations; the storyline about Dew Drop longing for (and not getting, for practical reasons) a fabulous Tooth Fairy dress struck me as less about not caring about appearances and more about realizing that sometimes the idea we’ve built up about something in our heads does not match the reality, and that’s okay. That’s a mature idea, but it’s an important one for young people to learn.
You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? is a delightful family musical packed with fun for all ages. If there’s a little person in your life, definitely take them to see this exciting show.
From the Chicago Reader
March 20, 2018
By Marissa Oberlander
Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries adaptation of Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt’s 2007 book, penned by ensemble members Heather Currie and Derek Czaplewski, is an uplifting, one-hour musical. Dew Drop, a happy-go-lucky fairy played by Darian Tene, gets the opportunity to apply for the job of a lifetime: the next Tooth Fairy. It turns out to be a much harder gig than Dew Drop thought, though, and she undergoes specialized training under the supervision of a trio of vivacious firefly assistants and TTF (the Tooth Fairy) herself, played by a charismatic Diana Coates. In addition to Laura McKenzie’s catchy songs, accompanied by a host of dance numbers, the Tooth Fairy’s high-tech Command Central and Dew Drop’s difficulties bench-pressing quarters were a hit with young audience members on the afternoon I attended. This show is recommended for ages five and up.