‘Dragons’ delight TYA audiences


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A red, yellow, and blue dragon a talking dog, and a TV host keep Robbie company on a rainy day in Theatre for Young America’s current production, “Dragons Love Tacos.”

The children’s story by Ernie Nolan is based on the book by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, perfectly begins Theatre for Young America’s 2020 season. As Robbie and his dog Kodi find themselves bored and with nothing on the tube that interests them, they drift off to sleep, then find themselves engulfed inside the TV. Their dreams introduce them to TV host/anchor who tells them of his expertise on dragons. He also tells them that on this side of the TV screen, dogs can talk.

“Dragons Love Tacos” reminds of Dorothy Gale’s dream in The Wizard of Oz, only this is Missouri, not Kansas. As the young attendees quiet down and focus on the story, they realize, they are not in Mizzou anymore.

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Soon, a knock at the door signals a magical moment when three dragons, red, blue, and yellow enter and demonstrate to Robbie and Kodi that dragons are not fearful creatures, but fun companions who like to eat tacos, party, and dance. Yep, it’s true: Dragons like to party.

This particular show runs about 35 minutes, a few minutes shorter than most TYA shows, but the show is so colorful and engaging, the audiences remain still and quiet throughout. And, after the show, as students exit, they meet the cast and get photos as necessary.

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The costumes stand out for the younger audience. The movement in the show keeps the eyes moving and helps keep the audience engaged. The movement of Kodi the dog makes him a focus at various times in the show. As for Eric Johansen, the sequence on the TV screen as channels change gives him a chance to display his vast store of characters. Overall, the show provides great entertainment for children and adults.

Counting the smiles as patrons exit guarantees everyone enjoys the show. Parents, teachers, and the students all enjoyed the show.

The cast is: Kieran Ford as Robbie, J. Will Fritz as the Yellow Dragon, Amy Hurrelbrink as the Red Dragon, Franci Talamantez-Witte as the Blue Dragon, Eric Johansen as Man, R.H. Wilhoit as Kodi the Dog. The production team is: Valerie Mackey, director; Mieke Westra, stage manager; Alexandra Piley, production manager; Charlie Weltkamp, technical director; Zachary Hampton, Sheryl Bryant, costumes; Sheryl Bryant, education director; Kylor Greene, lighting designer.

“Dragons Love Tacos” continues for one more week til Nov. 9 on City Stage on the lower level of Union Station. Tickets and times can be found at the Theatre for Young America website.

Tags: Theatre for Young America, “Dragons Love Tacos” review, Union Station, City Stage, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment


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