Review: Jack VS Rapunzel at Infinity Theatre Company

TheatreBloom rating:

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Children of all ages! Let’s get ready to— FAIRYTALE!!! In a dynamic new children’s production, Infinity Theatre Company brings an exciting new musical to the stage with the performance of Jack VS Rapunzel. With Book and Lyrics by the company’s Co-Artistic Director Alan Ostroff, and Music by Clayton Colwell, these classic fairytale characters are being presented in a brand new fashion that is both entertaining and educational.

Creator Alan Ostroff has found the perfect vehicle for a modern children’s musical featuring familiar characters with a new twist. Serving as a vessel of educational entertainment for children as well as the families that accompany them, this inspiring presentation welcomes new ideas and new topics— like the Arne Thompson Classification System— with important modern family values— such as the importance of being yourself and accepting your individuality. Following suit with more recent children’s shows, Ostroff shies away from rhyming schemes in his lyrics, using a wide variety of varying vocabulary levels to appease and educate the audience.

The concept of the show is constructed around two iconic Fairytale characters— Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel of her self-titled tale. They’ve come to compete against one another in order to receive a higher number in the aforementioned classification system. Hosting the show? Why Sam Smiley (Sam Hood Adrain) of course, who keeps the audience interaction level at an all time high by engaging with youngsters in the lobby before the show as well as during the performance.

Ostroff works with Musician Clayton Colwell to include various musical styles in the show including ballads, up-tempo dance numbers, and story-patter songs. Together they create a truly captivating children’s show that is more than just youthful entertainment and education; but an honest all around enjoyable morning for everyone. There are little jokes and moments that speak to adults without being crude or crass in nature but these moments never detract from what’s happening in the show for the children— a crucial component of well-balanced theatre for younger audiences.

The performers in the show serve as the understudies and swings of Infinity’s main-stage shows this season. Five actors serve as the show’s host, co-host, the two main fairytale characters and a surprise supporting character. The distinctive personalities that Ostroff has penned into each of the characters makes them really pop, which is definitely a necessity to keep the attention of young audiences, especially when they are set against such a sparkly and lively set. (As designed by Andrew Rassmusen.)

Jacob Shipley as Jack in Jack VS RapunzelInfinity Theatre Company
Jacob Shipley as Jack in Jack VS Rapunzel


Jack (Jacob Shipley) and Rapunzel (Ana Marcu) are ready to duke it out over who should have the higher number in the classification system. Shipley adjusts easily to the Elvis rocker persona that debuts in Jack’s first song “I’m Smart & I’m Cool.” His voice is strong and welcoming and really invites the audience to enjoy his personality and its many emotions as the show progresses. The same can be said of Marcu, her soprano range a most impressive thing as it blends strong against Shipley in duets like “Cow For Beans/Child For Greens.” Her rocker roots rage through in her introductory song of “There is Food Delivery Out There” (the epitome of Colwell’s creative versatility in musical styling.)

Sam Hood Adrain and Alex Smith, who play Sam Smiley and Shelly respectively, are comic crack-ups. Smith doubles as Rapunzel’s hair— a singing puppet featured in “Keep Your Cool.” He also serves as the mellowing foil to the spastic and excitedly over-the-top Sam Smiley character. Adrain tackles the show host persona with vigor and has quite a few moments that really entertain the adults in the audience. His approach to audience interaction is exquisite, really inviting the children into a safe and welcoming environment. Both have sturdy singing voices that float well in the music that the show offers.

Keep an eye out for Emily Freeman, who plays Jack’s Mother, as she is a whirlwind of excitement and spirit that moves things along throughout the performance. A wholly engaging and thoroughly developed children’s show, Ostroff and the company is providing a great opportunity for young audience of Annapolis this summer.

Running Time: Approximately 55 minutes with no intermission

Jack VS Rapunzel plays through August 2, 2015 at the Infinity Theatre Company in the Humanities Building Theatre (Room 112) of the Anne Arundel Community College— 101 College Parkway in Arnold, MD. For tickets call the box office at (877) 501-8499 or purchase them online.

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