If you’re looking for an enjoyable time for the family, look no further than “Corduroy” at the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC).
The 90-minute play, first staged at CTC in 2018, is based on two beloved children’s books by Don Freeman—“Corduroy” and its sequel “A Pocket for Corduroy.” In 1968, “Corduroy” broke new ground by portraying the main characters as people of color.
The story is driven by a young girl named Lisa (Ayla Porter) and her desire to take home a teddy bear that she eyes while shopping with her mother. Lisa quickly bonds with the bear sitting on the shelf with a button missing from its corduroy overalls.
When her mother elects not to buy the toy bear, Lisa is determined to do whatever it takes to earn enough money around the house to buy it herself.
From that point on, the department store comes to life, as does the humor, when Corduroy (Dean Holt), goes around the store in search of his missing button. Hot on his trail is a hapless nighttime security guard (Autumn Ness), and together the two make an absolute mess of the store, much to the delight of the audience.
The character Corduroy utters only one word—“Button!”—throughout most of the play. But actor Dean Holt, in reprising the role from 2018, varies his line readings and employs a nimble physicality to convey Corduroy’s emotions.
Humor is also provided in a series of mishaps by Lisa, whose attempts to do household chores lead to disaster at each turn and earn the ire of her long-suffering and exasperated mother.
The relationship between Lisa and her mother (Alexcia Thompson), and the revelations about Lisa’s inner turmoil and why her quest for Corduroy is so important to her, ground the story and provide the emotional pulse of the play.
The clever use of the store mannequins that double as stagehands (Luciana Mayer and Hugo Mullaney) help round out the story. The hard-working stagehands also engage the kids in the audience during intermission, enlisting them to assist in a bit of on-stage clean-up that effectively makes them part of this colorful romp.
“Corduroy” runs until April 2 at Children’s Theatre Company’s UnitedHealth Group Stage, located at 2400 3rd Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Tickets range from $15-$64 and can be purchased by calling 612-874-0400 or by visiting childrenstheatre.org. This show is suitable for ages 4 and up.