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by Judy Antell


When some shows are called formulaic, that’s usually an insult. But in children’s theater, adhering to a formula can be positive. For example, when you go to a Theatreworks show, you can count on an adaptation of a popular children’s book, pleasing songs, and a likable cast. Theatreworks/NYC is now closing its first season at its new home with a revival of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Patricia MacLachlan's Newbery Medal Award-winning story is set in the 1800s on a Kansas prairie. Anna and Caleb’s mother has died, and their father has advertised for a bride. Sarah, from Maine, answers the ad, and the book opens with letters from Sarah to the family. In the musical, the correspondence is turned into song. This fits in perfectly with the book; one of the major concerns the children have is whether or not Sarah will sing, which their mother loved to do.

The plot is rather predictable. Sarah is different from the children’s mother (she is tall, and dresses plainly), but she is also independent – after all, she has moved across the country to be with people she doesn’t know. The move is billed as a trial run, but even a young child can see where this is headed; Sarah decides to stay and marry the father.

The show runs an hour and 15 minutes, and is recommended for ages 8 and up; children under 4 are encouraged not to attend.


Where: Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St.

When: Tuesdays-Thursdays at 10:30am; Fridays at 7pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm; and Sundays at 11am, 2pm and 5pm, through April 30 How much: $35 each; $25 each for a group of 4 or more

To order tickets: www.twusa.org or (212) 279-4200


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