Photo courtesy of Millikin University
Photo courtesy of Millikin University

“Wanda’s Monster” Brings Families to Albert Taylor Theatre

September 21, 2021

Millikin University’s 2021 fall children’s show opened with two matinees this past weekend in the Albert Taylor Theatre, on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 P.M. The musical, “Wanda’s Monster”, by Larie Berkner, brought out the child in everyone who saw it. 

The musical drew in children to the audience. Yet, many students, faculty members, and staff applauded the show.

Maddie Curtin, a senior Theatre major, directed “Wanda’s Monster” along with Denise Meyers, a professor from the School of Theatre and Dance at Millikin. Curtin says her favorite memory from the production occurred at the first performance.

“I was sitting in the very back watching the show,” said Curtin, “I was able to see all the kids in the audience dancing and giggling and having a wonderful time. It made the entire process that much more rewarding.”

“Wanda’s Monster” follows the heart-warming story of a little girl, Wanda. She tackles a journey of friendship, courage, imagination, and acceptance with a fuzzy, purple monster. The story features an ensemble of stuffed animals, including Wanda’s Granny and her brother, Bobby. 

The character “Granny” was a fan favorite. She taught the audience dance moves to go with the musical numbers. The whole audience, children and adults alike, were up on their feet.

The cast and crew of “Wanda’s Monster” started rehearsals on Aug. 20th. This had the company producing the musical in a three week turn around. 

“Monster” actor and BFA Acting major, Logan Hanson, recalls seeing the annual children’s show his freshman year.

“I recognized that it was a well-executed show that an audience of any age could get invested in,” said Hanson, “I also remember thinking about how they started from nothing and put a piece of art together in that short amount of time. I can only hope that our show affected the audience members in the way that show affected me.”

“Wanda’s Monster” moved the audience but also the community, as the proceeds of the show went to a local organization. Golden K. Kiwanis of Decatur sponsored the show. This group provides to the elderly and those in need through local organizations. The benefited local charities include BabyTalk, The Children’s Museum of IL, and the Northeast Community Fund.

Kerrigan Dunham, Theatre and Performance Studies major, hoped the audience enjoyed “Wanda’s Monster.”

“I would love the audience to take away the main theme of the show: loving others despite their differences and not being afraid to be who you are!”

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