Arts and Entertainment

‘Meet the Greens’ opens at Whidbey Children's Theater in Langley

Sam Cass as Mrs. Green and Kent Junge as Mr. Green go through the joyous paces of their fun-filled alligator lives in the Whidbey Children’s Theater musical production of “Meet the Greens.” The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21.   - Photos courtesy of WCT
Sam Cass as Mrs. Green and Kent Junge as Mr. Green go through the joyous paces of their fun-filled alligator lives in the Whidbey Children’s Theater musical production of “Meet the Greens.” The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21.
— image credit: Photos courtesy of WCT

Nobody is greener than Mr. and Mrs. Green.

Reptilian, thumbs-in-the-earth, recycling and friendly kind of green, that is.

A captivating couple of greener-in-more-ways-than-one husband-and-wife alligators are the stars of “Meet the Greens,” a new musical play created by Martha Murphy, based on the book series by Seattle children’s author Keith Baker.

Whidbey Children’s Theater will present the show in a two-weekend run opening Friday, May 21. The theater’s “Stories on Stage” adult-cast production is directed by Susannah Rose Woods.

The award-winning author, whose newest book “LMNO Peas” is currently on The New York Times Best Sellers list, said that when he was writing the characters, he never imagined he’d see them living and breathing on the stage.

“It’s thrilling to think about the characters coming alive on stage and singing,” Baker said.

“It seems natural that they break into song; they are enthusiastic and expressive beings.”

He should know, and not just because he’s the author. Mr. and Mrs. Green are inspired by his parents.

“They are happy and thoughtful people who enjoy fun, and are deeply devoted to each other — and to gardening and jam making,” Baker said.

“It took someone like Martha Murphy, with her vast experience in children’s theater, to see the potential and make it happen.”

It’s easy to see why Murphy wanted to bring the Greens to life onstage.

The sweet-faced alligator characters of the book say things like “fan-fish-tastic” about catching fish and proclaim their favorite number to be “infinity.”

And when Mr. Green tells Mrs. Green that he craves 100 “fat, flat and round” pancakes for breakfast, he breaks it down for her:

“One-zero-zero,” said Mr. Green. “10 times 10, 50 plus 50, 349 minus 237, divided by 2, plus 44 equals — one hundred!” (Mr. Green also loved numbers.)

The musical “Meet the Greens” introduces its young audiences to the everyday activities of the couple who illustrate their dedication to each other, their neighbors and their community with a generous dose of humor and good will. The Greens practice recycling, love gardening and, well, are basically enamored of all things green, which happens to be their favorite color, too.

Director Woods said that what she loves about these characters is their ability to thrive in the slow lane.

“In a world that is spinning so fast that it’s a miracle that we aren’t always dizzy, the Greens move at their own pace, enjoying life along the way. They are still playing red-light, green-light and hopscotch. It’s ‘Pleasantville’ for reptiles and amphibians,” Woods said.

Such joyful and exuberant alligators are compelling, especially to children, and Woods said she hopes the young audiences will have as much fun as she and the adult cast of five are having.

To that end, the play adds an extra splash of fun by including audience participation in the experience.

The original music and lyrics are by Murphy, with musical contributions and accompaniment from Robert Marsanyi, Jana Szabo and Susan Milan.

The cast includes Kent Junge, Sam Cass, Rob Harrison, Caitlin Goldblum and Erik Westphal.

The costumes are by Val Johnson, Peggy Juve and Bill Cass, with the set and lighting by Rod Stewart. “Meet the Greens” is sponsored by Mukilteo Coffee Roasters.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, May 21 and 28; and 2 p.m. Saturdays, May 22 and 29; and 2 p.m. Sundays, May 23 and 30. Call 221-2282 for tickets or visit Tickets cost $12 for adults; $10 for seniors and students; and $6 for youths 12 and younger.

School shows are offered on weekdays, with an educational curriculum available for parents and teachers; call 221-8707 for more information.

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