– Those looking for family friendly theatre this week should look no farther than The Rose Theater for their upcoming production of Big Nate: The Musical.

The story of Big Nate: The Musical centers on the antics of Nate Wright, a detention-riddled sixth grader who hopes to capture the beautiful Jenny’s heart by winning first prize in his school’s “Battle of the Bands. ” Although his band, Enslave the Mollusk, seems to be a shoo-in to win the prize, their chances are jeopardized by Nate’s ever-growing collection of detention slips. It doesn’t help when the girl of Nate’s dreams teams up with his archrival to form the sap-pop band Rainbows and Ponies, forcing Nate to take his game to an all-star level. With his friends’ help, he sets out to make it through competition week without any detentions.

Director Justin Perez, who is responsible for transforming the two-dimensional world of Big Nate into its 3D form, said “We’ve found really great actors who are willing to play and try new things, and designers who are willing to create something that flows easily from naturalism into a high-octane dance party.”

Nods to Iowa-native Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate comic strip can be seen throughout the play, giving an almost sketchbook appearance to the entire production.

From top to bottom, Nate’s comic book art forms “a graphic whirlwind of illustrations that open up to reveal different scenes of the play.” Actors will also incorporate illustrated props that that they pull right out of the walls, contributing to the comic book feel.

The highlight of the show is an interactive band competition, with the audience choosing the ultimate winner of the coveted prize by way of wild applause. Which of the three bands will win the contest? Only the audience knows. Ticket information can be found at rosetheater.org.

– Also opening is A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Arts for All Inc’s new “Theater for All” facility on 3010 R St. For ticket information, visit artforallinc.com.

Efforts began in September to bring the theater back to life. Jerry Abels, the Theater Manager, said that support from the theater community has been tremendous.  Because of donations from the community, the theater was able to receive curtains, lighting, sound and mechanical assistance. Abels said next weekend’s opening performances would not have been possible without them.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com


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