No one would accuse Pinkalicious the Musical of subtlety, but then again, despite its position on the lighter side of the spectrum, no one can ignore the color pink — or its immediate associations with lovey-dovey feelings and nonmasculinity.
In this children’s musical, based on the book by sisters Victoria and Elizabeth Kann and now playing at Casa Mañana Children’s Theatre, those issues are explored, but not as prominently as the problem with eating only pink food, as in cupcakes and frosting.
That’s all the character Pinkalicious Pinkerton (Laura Wetsel) wants to eat, despite the warnings by her parents (played winningly by Paul T. Taylor and Brett Hurt) and, to a lesser extent, her brother Peter (Brandon Wilhelm). He’s more in the cookie camp.
In a fate similar to Violet Beauregarde in another popular children’s cautionary tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pinkalicious turns pink: hair, skin, everything. To paraphrase Steel Magnolias, the colors “blush” and “bashful” start to look more like an explosion of Pepto-Bismol. The good news is that, unlike Violet, Pinkalicious has a happy ending.
Her parents and Dr. Wink (Rachel Rice) try to persuade her to eat green food, but not until Pinkalicious initiates that change herself do her coloring, and no doubt health, change. (You’d think they would have tried a healthful pink food, like grapefruit.)
Directed by Noah Putterman with music direction by Sarah Gay and choreography by Jeremy Dumont, Casa’s Pinkalicious is as delightful as pink frosting. A big part of that is the performance by Wetsel in the title role, who is all about the joys of being a kid.
She then makes a believable turn when it comes to finally taking adult responsibility. She and the cast do right by the score, which isn’t complicated but has some fun tunes, including Buzz Off and Pink-a-Boo (music by John Gregor with lyrics by him and the Kann sisters).
What really makes the show stand out is the design, with Colt Frank’s pink-hued set (the Pinkertons’ home unfolds from a giant cupcake), hair/wig design by Catherine Petty-Rogers and fantastic costumes by Tammy Spencer. She has outdone herself in the dream sequences that involve dancing cupcakes (the dancers wear cherry helmets), flowers and bees.
It’s enough to make everyone want a case of “pinkitis,” if only for a moment. Then, if the show has done its job of mixing frothy entertainment with a touch of the didactic, you’ll go home and make a healthy smoothie from everything that’s fresh and green in the fridge.