The beloved children’s book Flat Stanley is now a musical!
Once a regular kid, Stanley is squashed flat by a bulletin board. Instead of getting down in the dumps, he embraces his new flatness and gets up to all sorts of crazy hijinks.
Co-produced by Oliver Alkhair and Jessica Savin, the musical is being presented online with a cast assembled from Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Oliver previously produced and starred in the online presentation of The Big One-Oh, and will be appearing as Stanley’s brother in The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. Bookwriter and creator of the musical Tim McDonald has been part of the rehearsal process from his home in NYC – technology truly has brought this show together.
The main motivation for the production is to allow kids to keep a strong connection to the theatre, both in participation and viewing. Several of the cast members were part of (or were to be part of) major productions that have been cancelled as a result of the COVID crisis. The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley is available for streaming for one week only, with daytime sessions for classroom viewing available.
Edgar Stirling (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) will be playing the title role of Stanley, but there is something very exciting about the production… his twin brother is also in the show! Edgar is joined by George, who will be playing Napoleon, for what is sure to be a very rambunctious and riveting production.
With the show opening on Thursday, I had a chat to the twins about the process of working on an online musical, and how it was working on a show with your brother!
What is your favourite part of Flat Stanley?
George: I love the group scenes. It sounds awesome when everyone sings together — so many of the kids in this show have huge voices and they blend beautifully.
Edgar: I love the art scenes (those shot at the Louvre, not the real Louvre) because the costumes look great and I love the French accents. I also think it’s really clever the way the directors have incorporated the portraits into zoom.
Has it been exciting working on a show with your brother?
Edgar: Actually yes. We have worked on shows separately but it was really fun to work on one together. I have never actually seen George act and he really surprised me as Napoleon.
George: Sure. I have seen too much of Edgar in lockdown as we have not been at school for over 6 months but it has been great to have had something to focus on and at least we don’t fight in Flat Stanley as we do playing backyard soccer! Because we log onto two different computers most of the cast members didn’t actually know we were twins until the Q and A with Tim McDonald (the writer of Flat Stanley Jr) when we sat on the couch together.
How have rehearsals been different to other shows you’ve been in?
George: Kids can be put on mute. The chaperones would love that function in the theatre!
Edgar: Substantially different. Usually the rehearsal period is a time to get to know the cast. We are there all day and we play games together during breaks. On Charlie we always played Monopoly for example with our Chaperone.
George: and on Turandot we played ‘The Game of Life.’
Edgar: Right. As rehearsals are considerably shorter and very concentrated we really have to focus. And there is no ping pong!
Do you have a favourite scene or song?
George: “I wish I Were (Part 2).” I love what they have done with the light sabres.
Edgar: “In a Tree.” Tim McDonald said it was his favourite song and I think it might be mine too.
Why should people watch the show?
Edgar: It is amazing to see what the directors have achieved on zoom. It is really creative the way they have directed and choreographed the show so that it feels like the cast is in the same room and not spread across three States. Our school musical was cancelled this year and we have been looking forward to it since prep. Imagine if all schools could do musicals on zoom so kids could still experience a show, even if it is in a different form.
George: Honestly, I think every singe music teacher in Australia should watch to see what is possible. And every single producer. Also, it is only twenty minutes so it’s not an enormous time commitment and for $10 for an entire family to watch, it is cheaper than Deliveroo.
THE MUSICAL ADVENTURES OF FLAT STANLEY: ONLINE EDITION
Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 October 2020
Cost: $10.50 per family or $18.50 for a school classroom.
To book as a school teacher please email [email protected] to receive the schools’ booking link. Link to watch online will be provided 1 hour before.