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Have a good time at 'HULLABALLOO!'

Families looking for a free live theater performance that will appeal to all ages need look no further than “The Hullabaloo! Red Goes Green,” opening Friday, Dec. 20, at LaSalle High School in Milwaukie.

“The Hullabaloo!” is an original musical that JANE a theater company produces every year. At only an hour long it is family-friendly, said director and JANE founder Kim Bogus.

But just what is a “Hullabaloo”?

by: PHOTO BY MADALINA GIBSON - Pictured are Molly McDevitt as the Bee, Heather Ovalle as Red, Leland Radburne as the Polar Bear, and Kim Bogus as the Cow. “’The Hullabaloo!’ is our version of a British pantomime, a huge tradition in England. There are lots of things that happen in every panto, such as the Grande Dame is played by a man, the lead boy is played by a girl, and the audience cheers for the good guy and boos for the bad guy,” Bogus said.

JANE’s version has become a tradition for many families, and although it happens during the holidays, the show is not about Christmas. 

Riff on fairy-tale classic

“This year’s production is our version of ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ only ours is called ‘Red Goes Green.’ It’s a fun way for our audience to learn about the climate-change crisis that is happening. We take a fairy tale or classic story, give it a modern spin and message, and add great songs and lots of jokes.”

Bogus wrote the script for the piece, noting that she read an article on honeybees and colony collapse disorder several years ago.

“That was my inspiration. It scared me, and I thought we should all be doing something about climate change,” she said.

As for the original music in the show, “we have the best songwriter in Portland, the award-winning Greg Paul, a renowned rock musician/writer, who has written songs for his own band and for national/international stars such as Shania Twain,” Bogus said.

“My favorite moment in the show is the ‘Red and Blue’ song. The entire cast is on stage singing with such heart. It makes me proud to be part of it, and the message of the song is very important. Climate change affects everyone,” she said.

Bogus, the founding artistic director, started the company in 2008 and named it after her mother.

“We do plays that deal with issues that matter to our community. ‘The Hullabaloo!’ is what JANE gives back to the community for supporting us in our endeavors,” Bogus said.

Price is right

Audiences will enjoy the production, said Milwaukie resident Molly McDevitt, because it is fun and free.

“If parents haven’t tried live theater with their young children yet, this is the show to start with, no matter how young. We have toddlers getting up and singing and dancing, and they don’t have to worry about being quiet audience members. We want them to participate. It’s a great way to spend an hour as a family. They won’t be disappointed,” she said.

McDevitt plays the part of the Bee that Red meets on her way to Grandmama’s house.

“The Bee is the most unwittingly tragic figure in the show. I am most directly feeling the effects of climate change, but only just learning about it.”

She first became involved with “The Hullabaloo! ” eight years ago when her daughter, Sydney Chvilicek, was invited to join the show as a child performer. Since she was at every rehearsal, she offered to help out with costumes. Then next year, the first time “Red” was performed, she was invited to be part of the cast as the Bee.

“This is the type of theater I like to do best. I prefer audiences full of children, as it allows me a connection to the audience that I just don’t get with straight adult shows. There is no fourth wall. We don’t expect the audience to be passive, but to join in the fun and be part of the show,” McDevitt said. “It’s hard to find a show that entertains adults and children at the same time, but this show does. It is also not your normal audience experience. We expect everyone to say yay for the good guys, boo for the bad guys, and get up and dance with us.”

Sydney, now 17 and a senior at LaSalle, acted in shows with JANE from 2006 to 2009. She transitioned to tech work in 2010, when the group did “Hansel and Gretel.”

“I filled in for our composer Greg Paul, who was running sound for that show, when he couldn’t be there for a couple of shows, and since then I have been running sound for the shows. This is my first year as sound designer.”

People should come and see the show, she said, because “there are a lot of jokes for the kids to get, but there is plenty for the adults, too. It’s like watching a Disney/Pixar movie. There’s a little bit for everyone, and they’ll be singing Greg’s songs until next year’s show.”

Sing-along!

What: JANE a theater company presents “The Hullabaloo! Red Goes Green”

When: 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 20 through 29

Where: LaSalle High School Theater, 11999 S.E. Fuller Road, Milwaukie

Details: Free; reservations can be made at: boxofficetickets.com/go/event?id=253515.

Cast: Beth Biggs, Kim Bogus, Kelly Brown, Todd Carlson, Arlene East, James Lawrence, Molly McDevitt, Heather Ovalle and Leland Radburn

More: janetheater.org



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