Last Sunday my family and I were lucky enough to enjoy the use of the “Me, Myself & Baby I” press tickets for a sneak peek preview of “Can Do Duck: The Musical,” the latest off-Broadway production by Motivational Theatricals, at the Lynn Redgrave Theater on Bleecker Street. The play is based on the children’s book series “The Can Do Duck,” which was written by child psychiatrist Dr. Morton Sosland, and is brought to the stage by his daughter, Arielle Sosland, who adapted the book, wrote much of the music and lyrics, and directs this inspiring musical.
“Can Do Duck: The Musical” tells a story within a story. We first meet a father who is writing a children’s book and must enlist the help of his young daughter, “Sarah,” to give the book what it lacks: illustrations to bring the tale of “Can Do Duck” to life. As Sarah works on the pictures for her father’s book, she helps narrate the play, and, in a nod to the Wizard of Oz, the black and white costumes and set we first see are replaced by colorful backdrops and bright feathers worn by the duck family. We follow the new born duck (and his siblings) as he journeys from a scared and shy “Little One” to a confident and heroic “Can Do,” with pitfalls of sibling rivalry on the way. The play is warm and uplifting, with catchy music, live piano, and simple but fun lyrics for the young audience, who is urged to sing along with the cast at times. The story wraps up nicely in the end, with Can Do and his siblings mending fences, and Sarah learning to be a “Can Do Duck” herself!
The theater, which in the past has hosted such other children’s productions as Pinkalicious, is a family friendly venue (stroller parking!), allowing for substantial interaction between cast members and audience, as the small stage is floor level and surrounded by seating on three sides. My 5 year old daughter loved being so close to the action! At times cast members sat directly next to us and engaged her, and several other children in the audience were chosen to participate during the performance by joining the cast briefly on stage between scenes. And speaking of scenes and scene changes, the production used little in the way of traditional scenery, opting instead for a backdrop consisting of large animated screen that changed along with the story. The result was more of a virtual set, and a smoother transition between scenes. The actors were able to move the play along without taking the time necessary for physically moving large set pieces, as is the case with most theatrical productions.
In short, the show was great for young children: warm, funny, and an overall positive and pleasant way to spend a weekend morning! So take the lesson of Can Do Duck to heart: “say you can, make a plan, get right to it and then do it,” down at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in NoHo!
“Can Do Duck: The Musical” begins a limited engagement on February 8th. It is showing on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am until March 8th. USE CODE “NEW YEAR” for 50% OFF TICKETS AT candothemusical.com. Be sure to check out the following for more information:
Disclaimer: We did receive complimentary tickets to a sneak peek show, but as always, opinions expressed out 100% our own.