Photography by Joel Lerner
The moment children walk into the auditorium at Edgebrook Middle School in Highland Park to watch “Goodnight Moon: The Musical,” Debra Goldman wants them and their parents to “feel like they’re at a pajama party.”
Goldman is directing the musical for the Highland Park Players and encourages adults and children to come to the show in their pajamas and relive the experience of hearing or reading “Goodnight Moon” at bedtime.
The hour-long show, with music and lyrics written by Chad Henry about eight years ago, brings to life one of the best-loved children’s books. Written by Margaret Wise Brown in 1947 and illustrated by Clement Hurd, the tale features a bunny who doesn’t want to go to sleep and his mischievous best friend, the mouse.
In the musical, bears tap dance, the cow tries many times to jump over the moon, and the cat and the fiddle, the dog, the dish and the spoon perform a vaudevillian trio, says the show’s executive producer, Jamie Davidson of Highland Park.
“Tap-dancing bears in a children’s show in an intimate setting – that’s really creative,” Davidson says. “Adults will marvel at that creativity, while the children will be on their seats waiting to see what will happen next.” Live piano music will accompany the show.
At one point, the characters will fly with the constellations in the sky, says Davidson, who researched the musical before the Highland Park Players decided to perform it
Goldman of Highland Park says she grew up reading the book and later read it to her children.
“It was my favorite book,” she says.
The performances begin at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for a reason.
“We thought it would be right before naptime. The kids could come see the show and then go home for their naps.
“When the children see the musical, I want them to think, ‘That’s the book. That’s Goodnight Moon,’” she adds.
Jacob Cohen, who’s playing the dog, says he’s enjoying rehearsals dancing and singing on stage with the other characters — all adult actors.
“This is just so fun, so energizing. It’s going to be a crowd-pleaser,” he says.
“ ‘Goodnight Moon’ was one of my favorite books growing up,” says the Northbrook resident. “The bunny, the mouse, the cat — they were great characters to read about. Both my parents read it to me.”
The musical is “a great way to introduce youngsters to the theater,” Cohen adds.
“Goodnight Moon: The Musical” runs at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, 15, 21 and 22 at Edgebrook Middle School, 929 Edgewood Road, Highland Park. Copies of the book will be available for purchase, and the children can meet the characters after the show and have their photos taken with them.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://highlandparkplayers.com