A few months ago, I discovered that the show of the year was coming. Not Radiohead or Wilco, or even Warbeast. This was a little different. It was something that my 5-year-old niece and her posse are totally nuts over: Pinkalicious the Musical.
Excitement started building weeks ago. I'm sure outfits were planned days ahead. Pink boots (pictured) were donned early in the day.
When we arrived the lobby of the Eisemann Center was friendly chaos with a milling crowd reading for the Family Theatre Series production. There was no easy way to spot a child, no "side ponytail pink bow" identification system. It was a sea of pinks and purples and tables of similarly hued merch (wands, dolls, unicorns, puzzles, stickers, all the -licious books) -- oh, and adults with cups of white wine. Though, to be fair, they may have been headed for the Larry Miller show in the other theater.
My sister and I grabbed two theater booster seats for the two tiny people we were accompanying and headed in to the pink neon accented theater. A man came to the stage for the welcome and the sponsor plug. The room became instantly silent. It was incredible. Even he was shocked. "Do you do that when your parents walk in the room?"
Apparently, Pinkalicious the Musical commanded quite the crowd -- according to our greeter, 1,600 seats were taken, included the balcony and orchestra pit.
From the dimming of the lights, our two charges were staring straight ahead. Between occasional seat adjustments and asides telling me what was about to happen or what happens in the book, they seemed fairly engaged through the near hour-long performance. The actors had incredible patience, never losing focus despite multiple infant meltdowns, sound interruptions (probably from the storms) and various outbursts. The childlike voices, vibratos and projection were perfect to the kids' ears, while proving both impressive and mind-numbing for the adults.
In the book version, by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann, Pinkalicious Pinkerton (yes, that's right) loves the color pink, eats too many pink cupcakes and turns pink. She eats even more pink cupcakes and turns red. Then she eats green veggies, finds out they're quite delicious and turns back into a regular kid. Her brother also dances with a pink transformation.
Sorry to spoil the story, but some things need to be shared so we can compare/contrast with the musical version. It's a bit different, see and my niece and her friend were kind enough to help me out with some of the observations. For one, there's music: Books don't sing and dance. Secondly, we felt bad for Peter more than in the book because he didn't get as much attention. It's true, there's a big production over boys being allowed to like the color pink and a discovery about Mr. Pinkerton's pink-filled past that isn't in the book.
From here on out I'll let the core demographic tell you what they thought of the show:
What was your favorite part? P: The girl turns pink and red! C: I have two favorite parts too. I like it when they all turn pink and then when they all signed their names.
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Oh, like after the play when you met the cast in the lobby? C: Yeah! P: Yeah! I got three! [She got three signatures.]
Did you like the part where the Daddy said when he was little he got Pinkititis because he loved pink and ate too many pink foods too? P: He got pinkitis? Ohhhhh.
Yep. When he was a little kid. P: What is pinkitis? C: When you turn pink. P: But what is pinkitis? C: It's when you turn pink! P: But what really? It's when you eat too many pink cupcakes and you turn pink. P: Ohhhhhh. C: And I have a story and it was a little teddy bear and it was in the window and was called Corduroy. I have all the Pinkalicious books except Silverlicous. P: I have Silverlicious! C: I would love some crackers. Can I have applesauce? P: Applesauce? I'll have applesauce. C: P---, Do you know where? Chicken hair. [laughter] C: I really liked it when the girls bounced up on the steps and sang "Pinkalicious" over and over. Would you have eaten all the cupcakes? P: Yes! C: I would have hunched them all up and even eated the whole tray. I would eat the whole building we were in. I'm going to eat this whole car if we don't hurry and get out of it.