Enter the enchanted forest where Little Red Riding Hood is gathering flowers before going to Grandmother's. Jack-o, a scared crow, tries to get the kids in the audience to warn Red that a wolf is stalking her, but Red's not afraid. Any wolf who calls her Noodle Rat Rotten Hat because of a speech problem - why, he's nothing but a big, sweet doggie! Soon Little Red meets others, including a demanding Goldilocks, brave Hansel and Gretel, and bevy of bears on holiday. But they've all gotten lost and a mean witch is threatening them. Can they outsmart the witch and can Wolf help them? Some songs include the "Holiday for Spaghetti Birds (Teddy Bears)"; Red's "Give Me a Hand, Give Me a Paw"; Goldilock's "Spoiled Rotten"; and "Hamster and Gecko's (Hansel and Gretel's) Surprise." Songs by three Woodsprites throughout the show add to the fun. Performance time about an hour.
PLAYWRIGHT GARY LaVIGNE
TALKS ABOUT "NOODLE RAT ROTTEN HAT"
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I was inspired to write this musical out of necessity. I knew that I could be expecting 25 summer players in The Naples Players Children's Academy, and I wanted a piece that would be flexible enough to accommodate whoever might come through the door. Red Riding Hood seemed like a sweet heroine, and good place to start.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: I have many favorite parts in this show. The first is the bit where Red Riding Hood gives the wild wolf a cookie and a hug, and transforms him into a devoted puppy. It shows what a little love can do. Another part is when Red tries to get the bears to come out from hiding, and singing, "Don't Be Shy." I remember teaching my little girl that being shy wastes time and fun.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: Out of a need for an MC and a wolf translator, Jack-O, the crow, was born. He's an open, honest bird and a bit of a wisecracker, and seemed to automatically come over like Mel Brooks. The wolf became Russian. Goldilocks has a bunch of bad habits which need addressing, and each of the other characters have special traits. Neil Simon said that when your characters are well defined, bring them together, and the scenes write themselves.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: I wished for the cast to really enjoy their characters and songs while building self esteem in the process, for the audiences to be delighted, and for everyone to feel the power of human kindness.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD?
A: I'd only like to add that, for me, it was pure joy writing this play and the songs, as well.