Barter Players' new 'Mother Goose' borrows from several beloved nursery rhymes
By JESSICA FISCHER
What happens when Ol’ King Cole, Jack and Jill, the three blind mice and a cow who wants to jump over the moon get together to welcome the legend herself, Mother Goose, to the Land of Mirth? You get “Mother Goose: The Musical,” presented by The Barter Players.
Opening Wednesday on Barter Stage II, “Mother Goose: The Musical” is a brand new collaboration between Catherine Bush (book and lyrics) and Mandy Williams (music). Patterned after the Disney movie “Shrek,” Bush’s “Mother Goose” is a zany musical mash-up of beloved nursery rhymes.
“I loved the challenge of taking Mother Goose favorites and placing them in a world where all their stories intertwine — and what fun watching them interact with each other!” Bush said.
Ol’ King Cole and his merry subjects are preparing the kingdom for the arrival of that most magical storyteller, Mother Goose. But mischief is afoot, and His Majesty must discover the cause before it’s too late. Along for the adventure are Little Boy Blue with his horn; Little Miss Muffett, who is afraid of spiders; a fiddle-playing cat; and Humpty Dumpty, who is, of course, afraid of heights.
“I can remember being fascinated by the Mother Goose stories and poems,” said John Hardy, a founding member of The Barter Players (formerly First Light) who has returned to direct “Mother Goose.” “I had no idea what a “tuffet” was, and yet I never asked. It seemed to be one of those things that I kept as a mystery inside my little head. I was content somehow to just wonder at the possibility of what it might be. It caused me to imagine.”
“Mother Goose” isn’t the first collaborative effort between Bush and Williams, who also partnered on “Rudolph” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” both of which have been performed by The Barter Players.
“Williams’ music has never been better. I promise that the kids, young and old, will be singing her songs as they leave the theatre,” Bush said.
“Mother Goose: the Musical” runs through Aug. 10.
Tickets are $12.
For tickets or more information, call the Barter box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit www.bartertheatre.com.