I brought my two daughters, age 2.5 and four, to Freckleface the Musical with mixed expectations and a curious mind. Having had not yet read Julianne Moore’s children’s book, Freckleface Strawberry, on which the musical is based, I wasn’t sure how the subject matter of bullying was going to be treated–especially how it would be treated in a musical geared to children of all ages.
The cast is clearly supremely talented and ageless; they are those lucky kind of actors that can forever play teenagers. They gracefully belt out the show’s funny, moving and catchy lyrics while convincingly give life to the colorful characters on stage.
The bullying plot line was handled in a very accessible, mild way–the main character, a young school girl named Strawberry, is made fun of (mostly by her friends) for having freckles. There doesn’t seem to be any real malice in the bullying–it isn’t vicious and, having been cruelly and consistently bullied myself as a preteen, I was surprised by the lack of supreme childhood cruelty. And I don’t mean that I wanted to see that. Actually, I was relieved the tone was teasing rather than brutal; it seemed less authentic to me having experienced the latter, but generous given the mixed ages of the audience–and certainly sufficient to spark age-appropriate dialogues between parents and children on all the issues around bullying.
We did buy a copy of Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore after the show; we read it often. As does the musical, the book presents bullying in a cute and comfortable way, which is appropriate for the age group. My children are shy to varying degrees, and I think they relate–in their own ways–to the main character’s wish to become invisible so that no one will stare at her freckles.
Given my own sensitivity to this subject, I am grateful to have a starting point such as Freckleface the Musical for discussions with my own three children who are beginning to enter their own complicated social dynamics, as young as they are (my boy/girl twins are turning three this spring; my oldest girl is almost 4.5).
For more buzz on Freckleface the Musical, visit MamaDrama on BroadwayWorld.com. (Discount Code: use code MAMADRAMA at the box office or on line for $40 tickets: http://ww.broadwayoffers.com/go.aspx?MD=2001&MC=MAMADRAMA)
I received tickets to the show for review purposes. Opinions are my own.