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Last Tuesday Mrs. K and I took a trip to the world’s greatest children’s museum with our granddaughter, Hanna. She is 11, but there is still lots of stuff that interests her on every floor. And no trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum would be complete without a visit to the Lilly Theatre on the lower level. Currently showing, we have The Tortoise and the Hare by Candice Cain. This is a fun-filled 30 minute play that only loosely follows the original Aesop’s Fable by the same name.

It still includes all the morality that Aesop wanted to pass along, especially: “Slow and steady wins the race”, but it expands the character roster and uber-anthropomorphizes the entire cast. The Hare is named Flash, quickly and flashily played by local actress Jaddy Ciucci; the Tortoise is named Theodore, wonderfully slow in Thomas Cardwell’s painstaking rendition; and the additional woodland characters – Sly the Fox (Benjamin Schuetz), Trixie the Bunny (Arianne Villareal), Flo the Bunny (Lauren Briggeman), Barbara the Beaver (Melissa Sokolski), Rocky the Raccoon (Patrick Mullen), and Edwina the Owl (Christa Shoot Grimmer) all enrich the story through their lively actions and varied characterizations.

The colorful (but mostly green) set, designed by Abigail Copeland, the detailed makeup by Mary Malooley, and the deft direction by the legendary Ty Stover, all combine to make this a joyful, laugh-filled half hour for the young audience. Plus, there were a few touches for adults to giggle at, too.

Nothing too deep here, just high quality children’s theatre – exactly what kids and parents have come to expect from the Lilly Theatre troupe. I’ve done my share of these shows – between 2004 and 2008, I was in 5 shows in the Lilly – and so I can especially appreciate the hard work (and fun) that these actors and actresses put into their portrayals. These shows run 2 times a day (most days – sometimes 3 or 4) and number around 74-78 shows total. It’s great stage experience at all levels.

Bottom line: if you make a trip to the Children’s Museum, be sure to begin on the lower level and stop at the ticket booth to get your group into one of the shows. The run of The Tortoise and the Hare continues thru April 21, Tues-Sun (no Mondays) in the Lilly Theatre. Shows are at 1pm and 3pm. Special 11am shows are being offered to accommodate Spring Break kids on March 28, 29 and April 4, 5. Members can get advance tickets reserved online.

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