Rooney Rules in Toyland
Stage and screen legend Mickey Rooney lends his vocal
performance to Rainbow Puppet Production’s latest musical "Toyland!" This
100th anniversary production of Victor Herbert’s classic musical
tale features a bumbling pirate, a parade of toy soldiers, and a giant
spider guarding a spooky forest.
in Toyland" is one of the most beloved operettas of all time. Since opening
in Chicago and then Broadway 100 years ago, it has been made into a
delightful film starring Laurel and Hardy. In the 1960’s, Walt Disney filmed
the musical with a cast featuring Ray Bolger and Annette Funnicello. Victor
Herbert’s beloved melodies to "The March of the Toys," "I Can’t Do the Sum,"
and "Toyland" are a memorable part of the American Songbook and they are all
included in this brand new adaptation.
message from Mickey Rooney (Windows Media)
This latest version of Toyland takes all of the
musical and dramatic highlights of the story and blends them into a
fast-paced puppet spectacular. Bo Peep has lost her sheep -- could her evil
Uncle Barnaby be the cause? We’ll have to follow her through the spider
forest and on to Toyland where she seeks the help of the kind Master
In 2005 a "brand new" song by Victor Herbert! How can
that be you ask? Well, "Babes In Toyland" has been revised and changed
many times over the past 102 years. When it originally opened, there was
some dance music created for the show. There were no lyrics, just music.
Somehow, that music never made it to some of the later revisions or later
screen versions of the show. As Rainbow was preparing this production, we
stumbled upon the music again. It's really upbeat and bouncy... and played
at a speed slightly faster than originally intended, it sounds like a
"patter song" from early operettas and musicals. David Messick added
original lyrics and "The Candy Song" was born. Grumio, Bo Peep, and Tom
race through the lyrics as they put the Master Toymaker's Candy Machine
through its paces. The Candy Machine figures prominently in the shows
finale but you'll have to attend to see how.
This adaptation was written and arranged by David
Messick, author of Rainbow’s "Really Big Dinosaur Show," "The Amazing
Adventures of Chessie the Manatee," and the new musical "The Wright
like a dream come true to work with Mickey Rooney. He provided all the magic
and excitement you’d expect from an MGM star! He’s earned two Academy
Awards, took Broadway by storm in ‘Sugar Babies,’ and won an Emmy along the
Mickey is joined by his wife, Jan Chamberlain Rooney,
who provides the voice of Mother Goose. Jan currently tours with Mickey in
their two person show "One Man, One Wife." She also worked as an artist at
Hanna-Barbera animation studios.
cast members include Kara Dennison as Bo Peep. She has provided voice work
on many commercials and animated programs. The voice of Miss Muffett is
Tiffany Haas who just completed a PBS musical special with Denyce Graves.
Tiffany joined the Broadway cast of "Wicked" in 2005. Red Riding Hood is
Cindy Kays of the award-winning musical team C-Shells.
This is far from Messick’s first production of
Toyland. "In the 70’s, I was cast as the giant spider in a production of
Toyland," says Messick. "A year later I was made choreographer of another
production. A few years after that I was directing a cast of 100 people in
the largest touring production ever staged in Virginia."
last directed the show on its 80th anniversary. I promised myself
I’d present another on its 100th anniversary. It’s scary how fast
program was engineered by Steve Scheffler who also appears as the voice of
evil Uncle Barnaby. Sets were designed by Rainbow Puppeteer Jason Wiedel.
Puppeteers Kathie Davis and Regina Smith provided additional sets and
costumes. Specialty puppets for the program were created by master puppet
makers Laura Huff, Jill Harrington, and Frank Lakus.
from the Operetta "Babes in Toyland"
and Lyrics by Glenn MacDonough
play and lyrics written and staged
Engineered, Arranged and Produced by Steve Scheffler
by Jill Harrington, Laura Huff, Frank Lakus Kathie Davis and Christine Frank
by Regina Smith
and promotional art by Jason Wiedel
Puppeteers include Kathie Davis, Katy Junkins, David and Marcy Messick,
Regina Smith, and Jason Wiedel
thanks to Alyce Mott of the Victor Herbert Renaissance and Constance Grayme
for their assistance in finding original source material.
Character in order of appearance
The Master Toymaker
- Mickey Rooney, Red Riding Hood - Cindy Kays, The Big Bad Wolf - Don
Bartlett, Jack - Tim Tharrington, Jill - Lisa Ryan, The Woman (Who Lived in
a Shoe) - Chris Bartlett, Mother Goose/Fairy Princess - Jan Chamberlain
Rooney, Miss Muffett - Tiffany Haas, Little Bo Peep - Kara Dennison, Barnaby
- Steve Scheffler, Gonzorgo the Pirate - Craig T. Adams, Tom the Piper’s Son
- Jim Stensvaag, Roderigo the Gypsy/Conductor - Jason Wiedel, The Cypress
Tree - Beverley Slayton, Grumio - David Messick and Tyler Ryan