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REVIEW: ‘Flat Stanley’ Brings Adventure to Walnut Street Theatre

The popular book series comes to life in a fun-for-all-ages musical.

The popular children’s book series (and pop culture phenomenon) Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown comes to musical life starting this weekend in the newest Walnut Street Theatre for Kids production, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr.

 

The show opens March 31 and runs through April 14, with plenty of family-friendly showtimes, and plenty of adventure, laughs, and heart in just one short hour.

 

Photograph by Laura Swartz

The play — with a cast made entirely up of members of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre — introduces Stanley Lambchop, just a regular 10-year-old boy who wishes on a star “to travel the world doing amazing things no one’s ever seen before!”

 

That’s when things start getting weird—his bulletin board comes to life when he’s asleep and falls on him, flattening his body!

 

This obviously results in some shock and confusion from his family and friends, and also some pretty impressive physical comedy from star Samantha Deutsch (the audience especially reacted when the doctor tried to check Stanley’s reflexes). Soon, Stanley and the mail carrier realize his flatness means he can travel wherever he wants, for just the price of a postage stamp, and his parents are surprisingly supportive of the whole thing.

 

The audience follows along on Stanley’s postal service-fueled adventures, where he gets discovered by an agent in Hollywood, helps foil an art thief in Paris (complete with a silly chase and even sillier French accents), and stars in a surfer movie in Hawaii. But he soon starts to miss his family and his old life, so he gives up superstardom to be mailed back home, with the message to “find a little adventure in everything you do!”

 

Photograph by Mark Garvin, courtesy Walnut Street Theatre

I attended the show’s dress rehearsal with what ended up being some kind of school field trip, and let me tell you, there is no better gauge of how much kids will like a play than a room full of hundreds of school kids experiencing it with no filter.

 

And if your kids are anything like these kids, they will be clapping along to the upbeat songs, laughing riotously at all the silly jokes, and enjoying every minute of it!

 

The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr. is at the Walnut Street Theatre from March 31 through April 14. Other than opening day, which has some afternoon showtimes, the play is running all morning matinees. Tickets are $15 — $18.

 

Lead photograph by Mark Garvin, courtesy Walnut Street Theatre. 

PHILADELPHIA ASSISTANT EDITOR

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