REVIEW: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Lifeline)

 

Fun for kids of all ages

 

 Click, Clack, Moo - Lifeline Theatre  006

   
Lifeline Theatre presents
 
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
  

Adapted by James E. Grote
Music by George Howe
Directed by
Shole Milos
at
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
through December 5  |  tickets: $12  |  more info

Reviewed by K.D. Hopkins

I had my favorite associate reviewers with me for the Lifeline Theatre’s production of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. My niece Lexi and my nephew David are great barometers of what is funny without the filters of adulthood. Fortunately, this excellent show was a gem of comic timing and great music – even as I wear my grownup glasses.

Click, Clack, Moo - Lifeline Theatre  004 The story is simple and universal. Cow 1, Cow 2, Hen, and Duck want better accommodations. The cows and the hen are freezing their respective hides and feathers off in the barn. Duck is bored with the lily pad and wants to spice up his pond. The animals have a barrier in communicating with Farmer Brown and then the hilarity ensues.

Understudy Mallory Nees, who was fabulous in The Blue Shadow (our review ★★★), also at Lifeline, played Cow 1. She is the more logical of the cows and tries to find a sensible way to get through to farmer Brown. Lakhiyia Hicks plays the role of Cow 2. Her character wants to give Farmer Brown a knuckle sandwich until Hen reminds her that she doesn’t have traditional knuckles. Christina Hall plays hen with great aplomb and gleefulness. Hicks and Hall have a wonderful banter about chicken breath and cow mouth that had the audience in stitches. Yes, it’s juvenile. But it’s funny!

Ryotaro Shigeta plays the role of diplomatic Duck. Shigeta is charming and ebullient in the role. Duck has a great secret weapon in the super high definition remote control that drops from the ceiling. The remote allows us to translate cow, hen, and duck talk. It also rewinds the characters and pauses. Derek Czaplewski plays the hapless Farmer Brown who lives the sounds of the farm and is greatly disturbed when the animals become revolutionaries for warmth in the barn.

Farmer Brown makes the mistake of storing some old books and a typewriter in the barn where the animals live. Cow 2 sees that the books are by Karl Marx, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, and George Orwell. She is called to revolution and wants to get Farmer Brown off of the farm so that the animals can take over like in Orwell’s book. Cow 1 tells her to read the whole story because it might not be as great as that seems. It’s a great lesson for kids in getting the whole story and communicating so that everyone involved can understand. It’s funny on an adult level because we know how Orwell turns out. It’s funny on a kid level because Cow 2 is just funny pumping her fist in the air and declaring ‘power to the animals!’

 

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Hall’s hen is really sweet as she wonders what happens to her eggs. It is another great lesson in knowing your worth and the value of your work for children.

The musical numbers are smooth and well choreographed. The song ‘An Electric Blanket Looks Like Home’ is done in 60’s girl group style. The music is cool and the dance moves are worthy of a Supreme or Vandella.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type is from a series by author Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin. It is in the series that Lifeline has continued from Dooby Dooby Moo, and Duck for President.

Illustrator Lewin was on hand to sign the books on Sunday and the cast was most accommodating in signing autographs in person. Once again, Lifeline has done a stellar job of bringing the theater experience to people of all ages. I am a firm believer that children should be exposed to the theater more than the movies. There is real magic in this production. It is the magic that allows a child’s mind to roam in  imagination rather than be stifled and homogenized by impossible special effects. Click, Clack, Moo - Lifeline Theatre  004Lexi and David gave it their definite seal of approval. This miracle came in the form of one full hour of rapt focus and laughter.

Of course it should be said that David has deemed me the best auntie in the world. That is a comment that one doesn’t hear often and it isn’t doled out all willy-nilly.

They loved the brightly colored set, the great music, and dancing. Most of all, they love the theater experience in our own backyard of Rogers Park. It is a cool thing to read about something on your oat O’s box and then to see it live. Kudos to Lifeline for an amazing and fun show that shows the value of follow-through, problem solving, and cooperation. The play is an hour long and will hold your child’s attention as well as yours. I recommend this play even if you don’t have a grade school kid to take along. The double entendre is more than worthy for a laugh and memories of urban studies or political science classes. Come on and raise a hoof for a warm barn and bovine rights!

   
   
Rating: ★★★½
     
     

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Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type runs on Saturdays at 1:00pm and Sundays at 11am and 1pm through December 4th at Lifeline Theatre. The theatre is located at 6912 N. Glenwood in Rogers Park USA. Visit www.lifelinetheatre.com for more information. Moo!

 

 

Click, Clack, Moo: Cast & Crew
Oct 16 – Dec 5, 2010

Heather Currie (Cow 1)
Heather is thrilled to be back on the farm at Lifeline! She was seen last fall as Cow in Dooby Dooby Moo, and before that as Pig in Duck for President. Favorite past credits include: School House Rock Live!, The Taffettas,Nunsense, Spinning Into Butter, Frankie and Johnny In the Clare De Lune, and Godspell. Ms. Currie currently teaches in the Film Department at Columbia College, and can be heard singing every Saturday night at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret.

Derek Czaplewski (Farmer Brown)
Derek is pleased as punch to be making his debut with Lifeline. Since his arrival in Chicago nine years ago, Derek has worked with many local theatre companies including Piven Workshop, Circle Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Pegasus Players, Bailiwick and Emerald City, among others. He is also an ensemble member (and frequent director) with Handbag Productions. By day, Derek is the Associate Artistic Director for Imagination Theater.

Christina Hall (Hen)
Christina is delighted to be joining the KidSeries again! She is currently understudying Lifeline’s production of Wuthering Heights. Her previous work with Lifeline includes Duck for President; The Dirty Cowboy; Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; and Half Magic. Other Chicago credits include work with Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Emerald City Theatre Company, 20% Productions, and Sad Hat Productions. Regional credits include Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and Main Street Theater. She holds a B.F.A from Southern Methodist University.

Lakhiyia Hicks (Cow 2)
Lakhiyia is excited to enter Lifeline’s barnyard as Cow 2, who she affectionately refers to as Nala! Before graduating from Northwestern University this year, she appeared as Linda Hazelton in Palmer Park, Simone in Remedy, and Grandmom in Diva Daughters DuPree; in addition to various characters in devised performances, such as Etch: Stories of Sex, Love, and Desire and Spectrum’s Poetry Slam, For Whom are We Responsible? Not a stranger to Theatre for Young Audiences, Lakhiyia played Mustardseed in Mustardseed and Lexie in Brave No World, at the 2009 American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) National Conference in New York City.

Ryotaro Shigeta (Duck)
Ryotaro, now beginning his second year in the city of Chicago, has come full-circle and returned to the Lifeline stage. After understudying the role in Dooby Dooby Moo, he is ecstatic to be playing Duck in this wonderful production surrounded by so much talent. Over the past year, Rio appeared as Peter in Emerald City Theatre‘s Peter Pan, Lysander and other roles in Arts/Lanes Absolute Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and has worked extensively with Navy Pier Entertainment.

David Fink (Understudy)
David is thrilled as can be to be back with the Lifeline gang!! He was last seen here as D’Artagnan/Chamberlain/The Dragon in The Last Of The Dragons; as well as Duck in Duck For President, and Lyle in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, he has had the privilege to work with such local companies as The Gift Theatre, Silent Theatre, Nothing Without A Company, and The Hypocrites, to name a few. Look for him this winter in City Lit Theater‘s production of Volpone.

Mallory Nees (Understudy)
Mallory is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. Some favorite roles include Pennywise in Urinetown (dir. Dexter Bullard), Florina in Mad Forest (dir. Carlos Murillo), and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. Before coming to Chicago, Mallory performed at various venues in her home state of Wisconsin as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gilda inDesign for Living, and Sarah in Spinning Into Butter. Since graduation, she’s worked with a few companies in Chicago, but none as often as Lifeline. Last season, she worked on five Lifeline productions: Mrs. Caliban, Neverwhere, Dooby Dooby Moo, The Last of the Dragons, and The Blue Shadow; and she couldn’t be happier to return for Click, Clack, Moo!

Rachel Renee (Understudy)
Rachel Renee has sung all over the world, visiting all 7 continents on Japanese and British cruise ships, and is very "egg-cited" to be a part of Click, Clack, Moo. Favorite past roles include: Maria in West Side Story, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Eurydice in Orpheus and the Underworld, Mary in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Miss Neville in She Stoops to Conquer. Rachel received her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Music and a Bachelor’s degree in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This past year, Rachel was thrilled to perform at the Lyric Opera in Chicago and is looking forward to her next gig with the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee as a salsa dancer.

James E. Grote (Adaptor)
James has been a Lifeline artistic ensemble member since 1999. Click, Clack, Moo was his first children’s adaptation, and has since gone on to be produced around the country, most notably at Oregon Children’s Theatre in Portland and Dallas (Texas) Children’s Theatre. DCT is currently doing a national tour of the sequel, Giggle, Giggle, Quack. He and George Howe have also adapted two other books in the series, Duck for President and Dooby Dooby Moo, both of which had their world premieres at Lifeline Theatre. Jim is also an actor, and has appeared in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; Around the World in 80 Days; and The Killer Angels at Lifeline, among other shows.

George Howe (Music & Lyrics)
George Howe is a Jeff Citation Winner (Queen Lucia – Best New Musical 2006) and multiple After Dark Award winning composer/lyricist/cabaret artist. He has composed the scores for many of Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries musicals, including The Emperor’s Groovy New Clothes; Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; Brave Potatoes; Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; and four musicals by author Doreen Cronin: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type; Giggle, Giggle, Quack;Duck For President; and Dooby Dooby Moo. His next musical, Arnie The Doughnut, premieres at Lifeline in the spring of 2011. Giggle, Giggle, Quack is currently on a national tour with Dallas Children’s Theater.

Shole Milos (Director)
Shole is a Lifeline Theatre ensemble member who is happy to be back on Farmer Brown’s farm, having directed the original Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; Duck for President; and last season’s Dooby Dooby Moo. He even appeared as Farmer Brown in the Click, Clack, Mooproduction at the Lakeshore Theatre. He was last seen on the Lifeline MainStage as Dr. Baptiste in Mariette In Ecstasy. In addition to his work at Lifeline, Shole has directed productions for Emerald City Theatre, and recently appeared in the Filet of Solo Festival in Martie’s Sanders new piece Man Up.

Eric Hoff (Assistant Director)
Eric is thrilled to join the team of typing cows at Lifeline. He has directed theatre for young audiences in Romania, Guatemala, and California. Eric recently directed Ruby Wilder for the New York International Fringe Festival, produced by Chicago’s Not Waiting Productions, as well as Dumbspeak, for the (a)Symmetry Cycle. Eric has worked with Court Theatre, Steep Theatre, The Hypocrites, The Neo-Futurists, Theatre Mir, and Roosevelt Conservatory.

Ellen Willett (Stage Manager)
Ellen is glad to be herding the animals of Farmer Brown’s farm once again. Her Lifeline Theatre credits include Dooby Dooby Moo, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Duck for President, Talking It Over, Half Magic, Crossing California, Sophie’s Masterpiece, and Strong Poison. In addition, she has worked with Eclipse Theatre Company, Steep Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company, National Pastime Theatre, Adventure Stage Chicago, and many more. She also serves on the board of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a unique and vibrant music ensemble dedicated to advancing the music of our time.

Jana Anderson (Costume Designer)
Jana is excited to be working on Click, Clack, Moo. After Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Duck for President, this is her third try to make animals look more human. Prior to coming to the United States, Jana made elaborate costumes for classical opera productions in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, where she also attended University of Art. For the last decade, she has been designing throughout the Chicago area and collaborated with numerous theatre groups, including Redmoon, Light Opera Works, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Theatre at the Center, and Porchlight Music Theatre, to name a few. She supervises the costume construction crew at the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University. However, when she wants to have fun, she designs crazy fashions for photoshoots, advertising and Lifeline’s KidSeries.

Alan Donahue (Co-Scenic Designer & Properties Designer)
Alan is a Lifeline ensemble member and veteran scenic designer for Lifeline’s MainStage and KidSeries, having most recently designed Neverwhere,Treasure Island, and Dooby Dooby Moo. When not designing scenery or props, he does the occasional lighting design (Killer Angels, The Talisman Ring [2005]) or adaptation (Trust Me On This, Crossing California, Bongo Larry & Two Bad Bears, Sophie’s Masterpiece). Recent designs elsewhere include Dancing at Lughnasa for Seanachaí Theatre and Les Liaisons Dangereuses for Remy Bumppo. He also designed the exhibit for Dreamworks’ Shrek The Musical on display at Navy Pier during the production’s run at the Cadillac Palace.

Meg Grgurich (Co-Scenic Designer)
A recent graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design, Meg is very excited to be working with the production team at Lifeline Theatre. She has painted and designed for many theater companies since graduation, including Perry-Mansfield School & Camp, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, North Shore Music Theatre, and Baker Demonstration School.

Nic Jones (Lighting Designer)
Nic is very happy to be returning for his 7th production with Lifeline Theatre designing Click, Clack, Moo. Other theatre credits include The Marriott Theatre, Writer’s Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, The House Theatre, American Theatre Company, Strawdog Theatre, Mary-Arrchie Theatre, Emerald City Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, The Neapolitans, and Remy Bummpo Theatre. Nic is a DePaul Theatre School graduate, and is currently filming Ride Along for FOX Television.

Anthony Ingram (Sound Designer)
Tony is very happy to be back at Lifeline after having worked on the great and fun Dooby Dooby Moo. He is the resident Sound Designer at Signal Ensemble Theatre and has worked on a number of their productions, including The Real Inspector Hound, Aftermath, The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe, and Hamlet. Tony is also the Technical Director of the Right Brain Project, where he has designed lighting and sets for …Handcuffs On The Flowers, Chalk, and Franz Kafka’s The Castle. On a daily basis, Tony can be found at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, where he is a Technical Associate.

Ian Zywica (Technical Director)
Ian works throughout Chicago as a freelance scenic designer and technical director. While being the staff technical director at Lifeline, he has also recently designed and built The Robber Bridegroom (Griffin Theatre), Once On This Island (Porchlight Music Theatre), and The Last Barbecue (16th Street Theatre). He is currently in the midst of designing The Fantasticks (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Taming Of The Shrew (Provision Theater), and Bleacher Bums (Triton College).

Cortney Hurley (Production Manager)
Cortney is excited to be kicking off her fourth season with Lifeline after working on such productions as The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Mark of Zorro. Previous production management positions include the last three seasons at Strawdog Theatre, Ellen Under Glass with the House Theatre of Chicago, and One False Note with Plasticene. She currently serves as the Production Manager and General Manager at Strawdog Theatre, as well as the Assistant Production Manager at Theater on the Lake since 2004.

Note: All bios courtesy of Lifeline Theatre webpage.

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