The Glendale Centre Theatre has launched another solid original
children’s musical, this time based on the story of “Jack and the
This “Jack,” featuring lovely lyrics by Byron Simpson (who also
wrote the play), is more subdued than the theater’s prior children’s
production of “Cinderella,” and director Don Woodruff leans heavily
on what’s safe at the expense of the spontaneously wacky.
The kids will be happy, although their more sophisticated parents
will miss out on feeling that delicious anticipation of the
All the actors do what they do well. Special kudos go to the
supporting cast. There’s the endearing work of Jeffery Sharrad as
Jack’s pet cow, Lassie (ask her to speak and she’ll jump up and
“moo”). There’s also the sly humor of Sean French as the Giant, Ivan
the Terrible, dressed in a Vlad the Impaler costume complete with a
wig reminiscent of Captain Hook’s long wavy hair. He sounds like
Boris Badenov from Rocky and Bullwinkle TV fame (“Dance with Ivan! Is
Maybe part of the problem lies in the old fairy tale itself. It’s
just so hard to like a boy who’s too lazy to use a nearby bridge
(there goes the whole year’s harvest -- down the creek); who so
easily sells off his best friend, the family cow, to someone clearly
hungry for a steak dinner; who’s too simple to think before trading
the cow for a bag of probably bogus magic beans; who’s too dishonest
to tell the truth about how many extra magic beans he brought along
with him to the Giant’s castle (big mistake); and who doesn’t think
twice before stealing the Giant’s harp and golden goose on his way
Clearly, poor Jack may be a skilled dreamer but he isn’t good hero
material, let alone mature enough to get married. And the brave
little Princess that Jack so accidentally rescues (sweet and
diminutive Margot Lauren) deserves something better. Of course, Jack
does have a few redeeming qualities, like finally finding the courage
to fight the Giant and tell the truth.
But without miracles or magic, can Jack ever grow up?
Glendale Centre Theatre has consistently lived up to its excellent
reputation for high production standards. While workmanlike and often
charming, this “Jack” showed promise of tighter scene changes, faster
pacing, better handling of props and richer characterizations in the
Another view of ‘Jack’
Tiffany Serembe, 7, is the daughter of Mary Burkin.
I liked it. Ivan the Giant was funny. He said “Ivan happy” and
things like that. I liked the Princess. She was pretty. She was a
good singer. I liked when we sang “Happy Birthday” for the birthday
kids in the theater.