Cheery 'Goldilocks' is just right for kids

Times Staff Writer

Ever wonder why Goldilocks really gobbled up all that porridge? Storybook Theatre's newest musical, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," playing at Theatre West, explains it: The curly-haired moppet's own mom was a terrible cook whose porridge was the absolute worst.

In this cheery version of the classic tale, written by Scott Martin, with music by Richard Berent and lyrics by Martin and Rob Meurer, Goldilocks swipes Mama Bear's porridge recipe and high-tails it back home, not getting to the familiar chair and bed tryouts until her return visit. (The show's one standout song, "Too Hot," is a hoot.)

Co-directed by Storybook founder Barbara Mallory Schwartz and her husband, TV writer-producer Lloyd J. Schwartz (of the various "Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island" incarnations), it's a very young-skewing production in the wide-eyed, cheery vein, pleasant though unmemorable but for Kelly Stables' cut-above performance in the title role.

While the rest of the adult cast is capable, Stables' Broadway-style vocal chops and assured stage presence give the show some needed weight.

Audience participation is the biggest draw. Here, toddlers and preschoolers can buzz like bees, hiss like snakes and say "phew" to a skunk; they can tattle on recipe-swiping Goldilocks, help her find the bears' house, join a conga line and chant the "too hot, too cold, just right" chorus.

While crafted and presented by theater pros, it's the theatrical equivalent of birthday games and entertainment for very small fry, with audience involvement onstage and off from beginning to end. That's the formula that Storybook Theatre established from its start in 1985. And, judging from last weekend's packed house full of willing volunteers -- a few of whom went eagerly up on stage each and every time even without a formal invitation -- it's still working.


'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'

Where: Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A.

When: Saturdays, 1 p.m.

Ends: Feb. 28

Price: $8-$10

Info: (818) 761-2203

Running time: 65 minutes

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