Ferdinand the Bull | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Ferdinand the Bull

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It's hard to go wrong with Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson's children's classic about a young bull who'd rather smell the flowers than fight, and this musical adaptation for young audiences gets most of the notes just right even when Debbie Wicks La Puma's score doesn't offer much excitement (though flamenco guitarist Mehran is a welcome presence). Playwright-lyricist Karen Zacarias adds a story that runs parallel to the original, creating a young bullfighter who'd rather be a dancer, much to the chagrin of his father (a charismatic Gustavo Mellado). Director Marcela Munoz uses the existing set for Zacarias's Mariela in the Desert to good effect, and despite some vocal inconsistencies, the cast gets the tale's tone right, particularly Oswaldo Calderon as the lovable bull. Besides, any script that suggests there are better things to do than kill for glory is a useful antidote to our martial times. Through 2/26: Sat 10 and 11:30 AM. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, 312-443-3800 (TTY 312-443-3829). $5.

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