Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Adventure Theatre MTC Big Nate

By • May 15th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Big Nate
Adventure Theatre MTC: (Info) (Web)
Adventure Theatre MTC at Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD
Through June 2nd
1:05, without intermission
$19 (Plus Fees)
Reviewed May 8th, 2013

Big Nate is the world premier musical with book and lyrics by Jason Leowith, based on the comic strip “Big Nate,” by Lincoln Peirce, is the story of the many adventures of sixth grader Nate Wright and his friends Francis and Teddy and their rocking garage band Enslave the Mollusks. PS 38 is putting on a Battle of the Bands and Nate and his friends are sure to win. Except that Nate seems to struggle with CDS: Chronic Detention Syndrome. He can’t make it through a day without getting into trouble and the rules of the band contest say 25 detentions and the band will be disqualified. It’s a real nail-biter as Nate attempts to stay out of detention (no small feat) AND show his love Jenny how much she means to him.

The Wednesday afternoon group of school kids took their time warming up to the music and dancing going on on the stage, having been told probably that “theatre etiquette” requires no talking and sitting still in your seats. Everyone came to life when audience participation was required to pick the battle of the bands winner.

Nate Wright (Sam Ludwig) was full of energy and charisma, and was pretty close to what I had pictured in my mind Nate should be like. His big expressions and high energy kept the performance moving right along. Nate’s two friends and fellow Mollusks Francis (Joshua Dicks) and Teddy (David Little) stuck true to their friend and their band. The three made a strong team and seemed to get along well and were certainly comfortable around each other.

The Protagonist of the afternoon was Nate’s arch enemy Gina played by Angela Miller. Loud, bossy, when she entered a room you knew it. She and Nate squared their shoulders and the line was drawn in the sand from then on. The two went at it with much gnashing of teeth and fists raised. They probably would have made a cute couple if they could stand being in the same room for more than thirty seconds. The entire cast really meshed together well and were quite engaging. The choreography by Kate Arnold Wernick was upbeat and performed with much enthusiasm by the cast. The cast actually played multiple characters and Costume Designer Chelsey Schuller made colorful use of patterns and bright colors to make the costumes bright and upbeat. The set itself was very eye-catching with lots of bright spots, and clever projections enhanced the production.

A well-cast, well-executed, up-beat, high energy performance to be enjoyed by both the sixth-grader as well as the sixth-grader at heart.


  • Jenny/Coach John/Galvinator#2: Shayna Blass
  • Francis/Mrs. Hickson: Joshua Dick
  • Ellen Wright/Mrs. Godfrey/Galvinator#3/Pickles: Ayanna Hardy
  • Teddy/Ortiz/Mr. Galvin: David Little
  • Nate Wright: Sam Ludwig
  • Gina Hemphill — Toms/Mrs. Czerwicki/Galvinator#1: Angela Miller
  • Artur Pashkov/Marty Wright/Mr. Staples/Spitsy/Calvin: Tim Rogan
  • U/S Artur: Alex Alferov
  • U/S Jenny/Ellen: Angeleaza Anderson
  • U/S Gina: Erica Clare
  • U/S Nate/Teddy: Philip Da Costa
  • U/S Francis: Jay Garrick

Production Team

  • Director: Michael Baron
  • Book/Lyrics: Jason Loewith
  • Lyrics/Orchestrations/Music Director/Composer: Christopher Youstra
  • Choreographer: Kate Arnold Wernick
  • Set Designer: Misha Kachman
  • Assistant Set Designer: Sean Urbantke
  • Costume Designer: Chelsey Schuller
  • properties Designer: Andrea “Dre” Moore
  • Lighting Designer: Jason Arnold
  • Projections Designer: JJ Kaczynski
  • Stage Manager: Tre Wheeler
  • Sound Board Operator: Andrew Zimmer
  • Scenic Artist: Steven Royal
  • Master Electrician: Sarah Mackowski
  • Asst. Stage Manager/Stage Management Intern: Madeleine Evans

Disclaimer: Adventure Theatre MTC provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

Tagged as: , ,

This article can be linked to as:

Comments are closed.