Reviewed by Carolyn Albert
Audience moms (and some dads) grew up adoring Judy Blume's novels, and wanted to share them with their own children. Introducing the Hatcher family to their own via an entertaining musical was risky, because few books adapt to the stage successfully. The packed audience at Theatreworks' huge new auditorium at Equitable Tower attested to these parents' faith that a show presented by this reliable company would be wonderful. Their faith was justified.
In "Superfudge," 11-year-old Peter (Colin Hanlon) often gets stuck babysitting his four-year-old sibling—Farley Drexel Hatcher, nicknamed Fudge (Matthew Wilson)—a precociously verbal youngster who lives to embarrass Peter and get him into trouble. Mom's (Angela Parks) new baby, Tootsie, causes her reliance on Peter. When the family moves to Princeton for a year while Dad (Matt Boethin) explores himself vocationally, Peter must leave his best buddy, Jimmy (Stephen Bel Davies).
Princeton adventures include finding a new friend, Alex, with whom he develops a worm business whose main customer, Mrs. Muldour (Gentry Claussen), might be baking them into cookies for Trick or Treat. The versatile cast jumps into multiple roles with ease, using costumer Martha Bromelmeier's colorful sportswear in stories reflecting real kid concerns like wearing the right clothes and riding bikes.
Charming lyrics by Faye Greenberg to David Evans' lighthearted tunes—with sprightly musical direction by Michael Biagi—fit neatly into Michael Slade's strong book. Janet Bogardus' choreography and direction (with Tony Phelan) sparkled, demonstrating endless variations for Doug Huszti's blocks and simple flats. Seated in the furthest corner of the last row, I could see and hear perfectly.
Consistently entertaining, while offering healthy values (pesty kid brothers sometimes come in handy), "Superfudge" is a winner. Bookwise, author Blume personally signed copies post-performance.