Based on the short story by Kenneth Grahame. What happens when a gentle, Shakespeare-loving dragon meets a town badly in need of some diversion? St. George, a semi-retired dragon slayer, has been summoned to rid the town of a terrible threat. Of course neither the villagers, who will do anything for a work holiday, or the wanna-be mayor with his faux French accent, have actually seen the fearsome beast! Only Jack, a sensible, bookish young man, has met and befriended the timid, peace-loving dragon. Join the villagers as they sing “There’s a Dragon Loose!” Jack’s conniving stepmother sings “I’ve Always Cared for You” and the “courageous” village men perform “We Are a Manly Group of Men.” The Dragon and St. George start their duel flinging Shakespearean slurs at each other in “There’s Art Form to the Insult.” Far from being a musical just for children, this smile-filled version shows the many levels of Grahame’s satire to satisfy every age while the music carries all to a satisfying ending.
Playwright/Composer Elliott Baker
Talks About “The Reluctant Dragon”
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS ADAPTATION?
A loving satire always attracts me. We need to occasionally look at ourselves and laugh. Kenneth Grahame was a master at this art form and frankly, I feel honored to be able to musicalize his work. I believe that his story has the power to connect with all of us. The biggest crime is to destroy something because we don’t yet understand it. The most powerful word in that last sentence is, “yet.”
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I’m a big fan of physical humor. I love the song “We Are a Manly Group of Men”. At the end of a marching song, they realize that “It looks like we need to think this over. We’ll be at home, but we’re still men.”
WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART IN CREATING THIS ADAPTATION?
Keeping the show true to Mr. Grahame’s intention. When adapting a classic, it’s sometimes difficult to avoid being intimidated. It’s hubris, but I hope the result pleases him as much as it will you.
WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE THROUGH THIS ADAPTATION?
1. Entertain, 2. Entertain, 3. Thank Mr. Grahame for his philosophical insight, 4. Entertain.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
I truly believe that it’s possible to entertain a wide group of people of varying ages, interests, and experience at the same time. One of the greatest outcomes at the final curtain of a show should be a feeling of inclusion. We have all seen something funny, touching, and perhaps provoking, together. Like it or not, we really are all in this together. Everyone knows a dragon.