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May 7, 2008 > Theater Review: Milpitas Rainbow Theater presents Mulan Jr.

Theater Review: Milpitas Rainbow Theater presents Mulan Jr.

By Vidya Pradhan

The Rainbow Theater at the community center in Milpitas has been the venue for a number of excellent children's productions over the years. Their latest musical, Disney's Mulan Jr, is no exception. Numbering a cast of a few dozen, the play follows the story arc of the 1998 Disney movie, with the brave Fa Mulan impersonating a boy to get into the army in the place of her ailing father.

The play touches on the meaning of honor and tradition and how we can achieve both by respecting ourselves and following our dreams, a powerful message for children, especially our daughters. My five year old had a wonderful time with the antics of the frisky dragon Mushu and the ensemble numbers danced to popular Disney tunes.

The actor who played Mulan had a wonderfully ethereal voice that brought poignancy to the songs, especially "Reflection", though at lower registers it was hard to hear every note.

In fact, the sound management was the one area where there could be room for improvement. Often the background score drowned out the actors' voices. Carrick Young's Captain Shang also had a low voice which made it hard to decipher his dialogues. Luckily the play was familiar to the audience and it was not hard to follow the story.

No voice projection problems plagued the actor who played Mushu. The little girl gave a cute and perky take to the sidekick dragon and delivered her lines with aplomb.

What was remarkable about the Rainbow Theater's production was the multi-cultural diversity of the cast, wonderfully representative of the community. Indeed, the theater succeeds ably in fulfilling its two-fold mission: to provide a forum for the youth of the community to build self-esteem through a positive theatrical experience and to present quality, family oriented entertainment for the community.

Mulan Jr is a real treat for the kids. Expect a gasp of surprise when Mushu explodes a firecracker to warn the soldiers of the Huns' approach. The songs and dances are fun to watch and fun to follow. Gorgeous costumes and inventive set design bring the Chinese countryside and customs to life.

Best of all, the enjoyable production is sure to pique your child's interest in theater. For those interested, the theater is auditioning for their next play, Willy Wonka! on May 20-21. More information about the auditions and tickets for upcoming performances of Mulan and other plays can be found at the City of Milpitas' website http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/citydept/planning/recreation/culturalartstheater.htm.

"Disney's Mulan Jr",
Based on the 1998 Disney film Mulan and the story Fa Mulan by Robert San Souci.
Milpitas Rainbow Theater,
457, East Calaveras Blvd. Milpitas.

Performances:
Friday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 10 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

School performances:
May 6 and 7 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Tickets: $8 general admission; $6 children(0-12) and seniors. Available at the event and also through the City of Milpitas on-line registration at www.ci.milpitas.gov ( Click on on-line registration)

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