Preview: Arnie the Doughnut at Lifeline Theatre
Meet Arnie, the little pastry with a big problem. Based on Laurie Keller’s 2003 children’s book, the world premiere musical interpretation of Arnie The Doughnut, presented by Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries, tells the story of the chocolate- and sprinkle-covered confection happily leaving his home bakery with a new owner. It’s not long before Arnie discovers his dire dilemma—new owner Mr. Bing is hungry.
Giving the unsuspecting Mr. Bing the surprise of his life, Arnie speaks up to avoid becoming victim to a grumbling tummy. And so the awkward confrontation between helpless doughnut and hungry human ensues. But will Arnie’s argument hold up against Mr. Bing’s sweet tooth? Arnie may prove to be one persuasive pastry.
Arnie the Doughnut is the fourth Lifeline production directed by ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric (her past Lifeline directoral stints include The Emperor's Groovy New Clothes, also for the company’s KidSeries). This musical tale brings Kauzlaric her most colorful—and cross-generational—undertaking yet.
“Arnie is tremendous fun. It is the most Looney Tunes-ish production I think we have done,” said Kauzlaric. “It has great humor for both kids and adults; it plays to all ages.”
The stage version expands the roles of a few characters that only appear in a single illustration in the book, including Sheila, a powdered doughnut; Mrs. Plute, a jelly doughnut; and Ronnie, a French cruller. Kauzlaric and her Lifeline crew also made additional aesthetic adjustments to amp up the live adaptation.
“We play closely to the book in tone, humor and basic plot. We do have an added subplot that is not in the text of the book but was inspired by one of the illustrations,” Kauzlaric said. “We also have a trio of donut-hole puppets that [kids] will really get a kick out of.” She’s also excited about her colleague George Howe’s original music, especially his “extremely clever lyrics.”
If the musical leaves your mouth watering for more Arnie, grab your little doughnut-lover and meet the woman who cooked up the tale. On Sunday, April 10, Lifeline Theatre will host author and illustrator Laurie Keller for a free book-signing event in the theatre’s lobby. Catch her at noon, between the 11am and 1pm performances. Don’t have a copy? You can buy one on the spot.
Arnie the Doughnut runs Saturday 19–May 15, Saturday 1pm, Sunday 11am and 1pm. Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N Glenwood Ave (773-761-4477, lifelinetheatre.com). $12. Ages 5 and up. 60 minutes, no intermission.