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"little Red"

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1 chiïdren 's musical by Val Betoon, Starring Kim Weston and introducing .isa Stone. Satwrday anJSunday matinees at Jpm at the Langston llughes Theater. I must start out by saying that Linie Red is quite unlike aiiy "Yhiklien's entertainment" l've ever seen. Most young people's stuff, even the good, isn't equally fascinating to adults. Linie Red is. The idea of the play is that Little Red Ridiiii; Hond has heen updated to 1 c 7 5 , and instead of being in tlie woods, she's in Detroit. Actually, she lives oti the west side, you see. and she has to take the Dexter bus to Grandrtia's house, which is in l.atayette Park. Su ustead of dealing with the hundred-yeár-old white reality of Red Riding Rood, we've not the l-)75 black realitv olLittle Red. And, iust soyou don'1 foreel yoii're in Detroit: The Director's (Val Benson's) husband is one of the Four Tops (Obic Bensun). the Musical Director (Andre Mooie) has written hit songs for Gladys Knight and The Pips, and the mother and the grandmothei are both played by WCHB's own Kim Weston, star of the show. And, best of all, this musical is really a musical. I mean. it"s mostfy niusic (and the play is at least an hourind-a-half long), and this is where "children's entertainment" never had it so good. The song credits include both of the Bensons and both Weston and Moore. in addition to Carolyn Franklin, Ivy Joe Munter, and Ronnie McNair. The point is. people, that these aren't just tunes, they're hip, modern, R&B tunes as well as being everything else children's songs are to start witli. The music, competently played by The Hastings Street Jazz Revival, is just as solid and the songs are sung with as much energy as l've seen anywhere. But I'm 26 years old, and this is supposed to be a children 's play. Well. judging by the reuctions of three young theater critica I talked to (aged 8, 5!:. and 514 respectively) I'd have to say Little Red was a smash success. They agreed that they had never secn anything quite like it, eithei : in tact. I can attest that they were riveted to their seats during the entire performance, something which has, indeed, never occurred befo re. My young critic friends also made special mention of actress Usa Stone, and rightfully so. Nine-year-old Lisa plays "Little Red" and sings, sings, sings. She has become, in fact. something of a heroine to the three young reviewers, and I doubt if they'll ever forget her. Neither will you, if you see her. Take the whole family, please.