Even mythical figures get overwhelmed by their workload sometimes; such is the premise of You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, a musical adaptation of a picture book by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt now playing as part of Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries. In it, the Tooth Fairy (Diana Coates) is seeking a second fairy to help manage her ever-increasing workload of tooth collection, and Dew Drop (Darian Tene), an enthusiastic, Tooth-Fairy obsessed young woman, thinks she’s just the fairy for the job.
Dew Drop finds herself at Command Central, where a team of lightning bugs (complete with light-up butts, much to the delight of the children in the audience) named Flash (Christopher Causer), Twinkle (Benjamin Ponce), and Fresnel (Brian Tochterman Jr.) introduce Dew Drop to the behind-the-scenes operations that keep the Tooth Fairy in business. Eventually, Dew Drop meets the Tooth Fairy herself, and while the Tooth Fairy is skeptical of Dew Drop’s inexperience, she nevertheless agrees to train her in such skills as tooth detection, pet avoidance, and riding a tooth-shaped hoverboard.
The show is filled with fun, upbeat music with the slightest bit of hip-hop influence. Delightful little surprises in the design work, like the aforementioned lightning bug butts or the sparkly, oversized muffins Twinkle semi-compulsively bakes, add a magical touch to the show. And the acting work of the entire ensemble, charged with the task of portraying fantastical, cartoonish characters without losing the touch of humanity that makes them believable, is well-crafted and engaging as well.
The play seems to indicate with a song about how “the sparkle doesn’t make the fairy” that the show’s primary lesson is that appearances aren’t what’s most important. While that’s certainly a valuable message, what struck me as the most meaningful insight the show offers is the idea that hard work is what leads to success. Oftentimes in children’s movies, the protagonist is wildly underqualified for whatever task they’re undertaking, but simply by believing in themselves or wanting it enough, they’re able to succeed.
Dew Drop certainly has the passion to be the Tooth Fairy, but it’s made clear from the beginning that this alone will not be enough to earn her the job. She has to practice her skills, including things she isn’t naturally good at—like lifting quarters, which are comically heavy for the presumably pint-sized fairies. And she has to adjust her expectations; the storyline about Dew Drop longing for (and not getting, for practical reasons) a fabulous Tooth Fairy dress struck me as less about not caring about appearances and more about realizing that sometimes the idea we’ve built up about something in our heads does not match the reality, and that’s okay. That’s a mature idea, but it’s an important one for young people to learn.
You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? is a delightful family musical packed with fun for all ages. If there’s a little person in your life, definitely take them to see this exciting show.
Location: Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
Dates: Saturday, March 17 – Sunday, April 22, 2018 (no performances Easter Sunday, April 1).
Times: Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Ages: Recommended for children ages five and up (children under two not permitted).
Tickets: $15. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting the Lifeline Theatre website. Information about accessible performances, including opening captioning, a pre-show touch tour, live audio description, and an autism/sensory-friendly performance can also be found on the Lifeline Theatre website.
Photos by Suzanne Plunkett.