Fans of the hit television sitcom The Golden Girls can now experience Blanche (Cat Greenfield), Rose (Arlee Chadwick), Dorothy (Michael LaMasa) and Sophia (Emmanuelle Zeesman) all over again. But this time these lovely ladies have returned as puppets in Jonathan Rockefeller’s That Golden Girls Show!—A Puppet Parody. Capitalizing on moments from the original television show for loyal fans is where this production shines. Nostalgia quickly sets in upon entering the theater. Scenic and lighting designer David Goldstein marvelously transforms the stage into the women’s popular 1985 Miami living room and kitchen.
The cast (Kayla Prestel, Weston Long, Ariel Lauryn, and Jake Bazel) has worked hard to get the characters to step off the page. They have forged living, breathing creatures by manipulating the puppets in a realistic way and paying attention to each animal, insect, and human characterization: for example, the way the black bear raises its head to sniff the air or wiggle its bum, how Mister Seahorse twists and glides through the water, the way the pink rabbit hops, and how the caterpillar inches along. Long must also be praised for his vocal skills in giving each character an individual identity.
The puppets aren’t the only thing that makes this show great. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show has both illusion and spectacle. With simple sleight-of-hand, lighting, and the old bait-and-switch routine, this show finds seemingly magical effects to produce wonder and awe. Paintings appear without real paint, confetti and light combine to create fireworks that burst into the audience, and a drum light becomes a floating moon. In addition, the venue, a converted fire station with a highly raised stage, has good sight lines for every height of person.
If you have children or if you a child at heart, you're likely to find this show worth braving the cold for. It's a great indoor attraction to escape your cabin-fever blues.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is playing through March 27 at the 47th Street Theater, 304 W. 47th St. Tickets are $49.50-$69.50 and may be purchased by visiting ticketcentral.com or by calling (212) 279-4200. For more information, visit hungrycaterpillarshow.com.