'Ralph's World' enchants young fans

Times Staff Writer

They clapped, they cheered, they sang along, they cried, they sucked their thumbs.... Hey, when you're only 3, it's a fine line between shrieking excitement and tearful meltdown.

Emotions ran the gamut at the Geffen Playhouse on Saturday when a sellout crowd of parents, grandparents, toddlers and preschoolers flocked to see rising children's music star Ralph Covert perform his gimmick-free, tuneful "Ralph's World" concert.

Not only to see him, but to get up on stage en masse with the slender, bespectacled, 40-year-old Covert and bounce to the beat, hop like bunnies, play air guitar, slither like snakes, show their belly buttons on cue during the "Belly Button" song -- or just stand stock-still downstage, staring out into the audience, struck by the immensity of it all.

The milling throng of tots, and some early sound-system problems, may have distracted adult ears from Covert's professional acoustic guitar licks and the artistry of his witty, kid- and parent-savvy music, but easygoing Covert was unflappable. He appeared to be enjoying himself as much as his impromptu co-stars, some of whom left the stage eventually to bop and belly-flop in the aisles.

Chicago-based Covert, who has earned raves from regional and national media for creative Beatles-influenced music that appeals as much to adults as to children, performed an hour of songs from his four CDs -- "Ralph's World," "At the Bottom of the Sea," "Happy Lemons" and "Peggy's Pie Parlor."

The varied selection illustrated the richness of Covert's comic, clever and often poignant world of song, where mountains are made of chocolate cake, cows sing the barnyard blues, "mermaids murmur" under the sea and "lemonade in the shade" is about as good as it gets.


Ralph Covert

Where: Storyopolis, 116 N. Robertson Blvd. Plaza, Level A, L.A.

When: Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.

Price: Free; reservations advised

Contact: (310) 358-2500

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