Children's musical adapts an Aesop fable for the stage

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:55

    'Eeek, a Mousical' premiers at Crescent Theater featuring locals in leading roles Sussex Borough — It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in the small town of Sussex, and as Clement Clarke Moore might have written ”not a creature was stirring..." except the mice of “Eeek" at the historic Crescent Theater. That's where Cornerstone Playhouse is in rehearsal for the opening of the New Jersey premiere of “Eeek, a Mousical!” On this quiet Sunday, the cast of 25 mice of a variety of shapes and sizes were rehearsing the afternoon away and treated to a visit by the playwright Jack Dyville. Local residents Jenna Blandina, NatalieKitchin, Grace Brizek, Maslin Slade, Julia Dykstra and Sophia Girault of Sparta have been in rehearsal for six weeks with Vernon resident Michael Gillespie directing this musical version of the classic Aesop’s fable "City Mouse, Country Mouse." In the short time the cast has been together they have learned the power of teamwork as well as all the dialog, music and dancing that goes into producing a musical. Gillespie and Cornerstone Artistic Director Scott Mason, also of Vernon, choose this new piece for its fresh approach to the classic tale and the light and toe tapping quality of the music. "How lucky are we that we can pick up a phone and call the author Jack Dyville, or the composer, John Stutte, and ask them about the script and the music — what were they thinking when they wrote this section or that line.” On Oct. 16, the cast had the opportunity to work with the writer who talked about his own career in the theater as well as his writing career. He's written more than 25 scripts for the stage. The cast asked questions, received stage directions and character notes, posed for pictures and had Dyville sign their scripts. "It is always a privilege as a playwright to hear your words come to life as interpreted by a set of actors and director... I cannot wait to see all the magic come to life when these kids don their mouse ears, tails and whiskers." Two firsts Cornerstone is double premiering this production of “Eeek!” This will also be Cornerstone’s premiere in their new home at the historic Crescent Theater at 74 Fountain Square in Sussex. For the past three months the members of Cornerstone have been readying the theater for its reopening on Oct. 28, painting, cleaning, adding new lighting, furniture and overall making the theater a welcoming environment for all. According to Mason, “the transformation is sort of a Cinderella story and we are almost ready for Cinderella to go to the ball. Even the other day a local resident looked in the new warm and inviting lobby and asked if we were opening a hotel.”