Freddy the Firetruck, Bailiwick Repertory. Amanda Oosterbaan's "all-new musical production" of Freddy the Firetruck--adapted from her 1994 storybook of the same name and from its subsequent play adaptation, which toured Chicago-area schools and hospitals last year--includes audience-participation games and a score of catchy songs and dances performed by an energetic children's chorus. The framing narrative involves Freddy and his fellow emergency vehicles--demure Lydia the Pumper Truck and feisty Amy the Ambulance--whose care of the small town of Shelby is threatened by the introduction of Luke, a hook-and-ladder truck with an attitude. A runaway blaze at the local airport--reproduced with only a little smoke but lots of sound effects--quickly demonstrates the necessity of working together ("There's no room in this firehouse for hot shots!" declares Fire Chief Doright). After apologizing humbly for his boasting, Luke is welcomed into the firefighting community with a party featuring Handel's Fireworks and Water Music. This just-under-an-hour show is both entertaining and educational for children and parents.
--Mary Shen Barnidge