From Thought to Finish | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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From Thought to Finish

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From Thought to Finish, at the Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts. There were no kids at the performance I saw of this children's musical--unfortunate since this delightful show has so much to offer its intended audience. Writers Stephen Clark and Nate Sence have created 40 minutes crammed full of songs, silliness, and accessible information about inventors and the spirit of invention.

The piece begins with young Anna's failed attempts to launch an in-flight bird feeder she invented. Just as she gives up she encounters an eccentric neighbor, Dr. Wibbenmeyer, who enthusiastically offers to help. Joining the scientist in his cluttered garage workshop, she learns from him and his robot R23PO about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, the Wright brothers, and a host of other inventors, dogged problem solvers who sometimes succeeded by capitalizing on their mistakes.

The energetic cast--Tanya Renee Lane, Cody Lyman, and Nick Maroon, backed by Shawn Wallace on piano--vigorously deliver the original songs about historical discoveries and positive messages about keeping an open mind, sharing knowledge, and enjoying the power of creativity. Directed by Pam Dickler, this insightful, entertaining production would surely inspire young minds, maintaining both a smart level of discourse and a sense of fun.

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