MTW’s ‘Mirette’ balances heart and hope | See again
Music Theater Wichita’s “Mirette” is a sweet French candy – a delicious indulgence full of heart and hope.
Much of that has to do with the actress in the title role. Kaitlyn Lemon envelops the charisma, talent and stage presence of a seasoned musical performer and encases them in the body of a 13-year-old girl. Every moment his Mirette is on stage is a delight.
Set in 1899 in Paris and based on an award-winning children’s book, Mirette lives in a hotel for “artists” run by her mother (played by Karen Robu). A man with a mysterious past (Michael Dikegoros) arrives, settles into a basement apartment, and ultimately becomes the inspiration and trainer of Mirette, who has discovered the love of wire walking.
The boarding house menagerie features a Russian singer (Darcee Datteri, who has some of the show’s best comedic moments), a ballerina (Carter Tholl, with a voice like Kristin Chenoweth, and a showcase for some of costume designer Melissa Penkava Koza’s best work. ), acrobats (Koko Blanton and Darron Hayes), a sad clown (Steve Hitchcock) and an unlucky juggler (Will Jewett).
To complete the cast, Timothy Robu as a talent promoter immediately recognizes Bellini from Dikegoros as a performer from the past.
Director / choreographer Wayne Bryan, who kept “Mirette” in his back pocket after seeing it for the first time 25 years ago, creates a lush atmosphere and several emotional crescendos throughout the musical over 90 minutes.
MTW’s first theatrical production since the end of summer 2019, “Mirette” is presented in the Century II convention hall. If it does not have all the theatrical attributes of the concert hall next door, the staging suits the little story of big dreams.
Much of the show’s luscious look is due to set designer Jordan Slusher, whose stage projections have a storybook feel, while maintaining the illusion of curtains and drops lowered, as well as recreating the climactic scene from musical comedy. at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Music is provided by Music Director Charles Koslowske and Jesse Warkentin at the side-by-side grand pianos. Thoughts that a full orchestra would be needed for a musical were quickly dashed. Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones’ score (“The Fantasticks”, “I Do, I Do”) is playful and sometimes powerful, full of jerky notes that the actors master wonderfully.
By turning a children’s book into a complete musical, playwright Elizabeth Diggs added the characters to the boarding house. Sometimes it seemed like there were too many musical tropes of storytelling – the mysterious stranger with a secret, the mother working on her daughter, for example – but for her target audience, “Mirette” keeps her balance.
The convention hall provides a beautiful home for MTW in this unique summer season (a 50th anniversary celebration in August and “Twelfth Night” in November will also be there). Members of the public in theater-style seats populate every other row, and one seat between the parties is requested by MTW. Masks are mandatory indoors, as it is still mandatory in city buildings and many of the younger members of the public have not been vaccinated.
“Mirette: by Music Theater Wichita
When: 8 p.m. Thursday to Sunday June 17-20
Or: Century II Convention Center, 225 W. Douglas
Tickets: $ 45 for general admission, from mtwichita.org or 265-3107