ELLSWORTH — The familiar tune of the “Winnie the Pooh Song” filled The Grand Friday night as children’s soft voices hummed “Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood.” The music intensified, signaling the “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh KIDS” cast to pour onto the stage singing and dancing.
Directed by Tyler Costigan, the musical theater adaption drawn from author A.A. Milne’s beloved “Winnie the Pooh” books was performed by The Grand’s Tiny Troupe Summer Intensive for children from kindergarten through fifth-grade.
“This is my first time directing a children’s show,” said Costigan, who actually hails from the Milford-Costigan area in Penobscot County. “It’s been a lot of fun. They’ve put in a lot of work to do this.”
For three weeks, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, the budding actors learned their lines and practiced their singing and dance moves. The show is drawn from the original “Winnie the Pooh” and its characters including Pooh Bear, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and other friends.
“There are kids who have been on stage before and kids who have never been on stage,” the director said. “Some were really into it. Some were just getting started, so it was interesting to see all the levels come together and put this show on.”
Ten-year-old Phoebe Carter played Pooh, who was in search of honey to calm his grumbling tummy. In his quest to find his favorite snack, the silly bear sees his pals Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Eeyore and Rabbit. At each mention of honey, the littlest actors rushed onto the stage dressed as bees and sang a short jingle about the sweet treat.
When Pooh asked Tigger, portrayed by Oliver Wood, if he had any honey, the audience erupted in laughter during their zany exchange.
Soon, the friends discover that their dear Christopher Robin has been captured by the Backson, a mysterious creature that lurks unseen in the Hundred Acre Woods.
Thankfully, after a night, Christopher Robin returns. In the show, he explained that he wasn’t captured, but was out getting ready for the upcoming school year. He had come that day to have one last summer picnic together.
Pooh, still waiting for honey to satisfy his stomach, asks the bees if they are willing to share, and they all enjoy a snack together.
At the end of the musical, the children received a standing ovation when they returned to the stage to take a bow. They held hands grinning ear to ear.
The Grand’s next Summer Intensive performance will be the “Phantom Tollbooth JR” at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Aug. 10-11. A matinee will be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 11. For more info, call 667-9500 and visit grandonline.org.