Wanda is a Middle School Hero: Get to Know This Kid’s Musical That Gets to the Heart of the Matter

TheatricalWrites Readers:  Check-Out WANDA’S WORLD and get a FREE READING COPY of the script!

The start of Middle School/Junior High can be a scary time for our ‘tweens. As any drama teacher who works with kids of this age in school or in youth theatre programs will tell you, these young people are in a crucial stage of self-awareness development, as they leave the relative comfort of elementary school behind. The theatre is a place where we can get kids involved in stories that transcend the smart-mouthed style of the endless slew of  TV sit-coms aimed at ‘tweens, and give our bright middle schoolers a chance to revel in the most collaborative art form available. At TRW, we carefully curate our TYA and kids for kids show collections to offer nothing but top-quality book, music and lyrics with stories that both entertain to the highest level and have a message that is musically uplifting…and in some cases, shows that truly offer a lesson for all of us, no matter our age. WANDA’S WORLD is such a show.

The story:  Wanda Butternut is the popular host of the hit TV talk show, Wanda’s World, where kids call in to get advice from Wanda to solve their problems. Wanda is beautiful, confident and always knows what to say… in her fantasy. In real life, Wanda is a middle school girl with a rather large birthmark on her face, who is terrified to deal with the first day of school in a new town. Gradually, with the help of an extraordinary teacher, she overcomes incredible odds and learns to follow her own path.

This heartfelt musical is a place where ‘tweens and their families can share a beautiful and vital new story that speaks, or rather, sings to an age group that very much needs the gentle message that comes

with it. In their notes to directors and producers of the show, WANDA’S WORLD authors Eric H. Weinberger and Beth Falcone write, “there is a tween in all of us who still feels vulnerable, that each one of us has some kind of ‘birthmark’ which makes us feel set apart, and that middle school politics, unfortunately, often doesn’t end in middle school.” Some of our clearest memories are those of playground incidents of middle school, when alliances between classmates could lead to ugly behavior. While WANDA’S WORLD offers a healing message, it does it in a show that is pure musical theatre magic.

The score for WANDA’S WORLD is instantly likable, upbeat, totally-engaging pop-rock that delivers real power to this one act show. Beth Falcone’s music & lyrics deliver a truly infectious, radio-ready groove that starts from the downbeat and provides the engine that drives the WANDA magic. Eric H. Weinberger’s book is just the right balance of authentic kidspeak and beautifully structured story-telling. Falcone & Weinberger wisely crafted a tale that doesn’t focus our sympathy on Wanda, rather we are invited to explore our own natural fears through Wanda’s courage. The writing team offers this insight: “One thing to note is that every character in this show has a ‘birthmark’:  Mr. Lemmings stutters; Ms. Dinglederry, who is Irish, never fit in because of her inexplicable passion for all things Latin; Ty must succeed or risks being shunned by his powerful family; Jenny must be pretty and popular for the same reason; P.J. feels ‘small’; Alison is socially awkward, and so on.”

It’s clear this is a show that will make a real impact on your program, and producing and directing it is a delight! When you read and listen to WANDA’S WORLD, we know you’ll want to consider it for your next show. To receive a FREE PERUSAL copy of WANDA’S WORLD, Click Here, or at the end of the article. There is no obligation whatsoever and the offer is only good for e-perusals (limit 1 e-perusal per email, offer expires Oct 31, 2014). They are usually 5 bucks, but all you need to do is a bit of clicking and you’ll get a free copy to have and to hold. Electronically. You can hear all the tunes as you read on the WANDA homepage. And when you’re ready to roll with your production, we’ve got the music tools covered!

TRW is excited to announce that our premiere rehearsal and performance accompaniment tools are now available for WANDA’S WORLD! These tracks aren’t just good…they are amazing. These are true SHOW|READY & STAGE|TRACKS programs and they can take your rehearsal and performance process to the stars! Click Here to listen to WANDA’S WORLD song samples. You can totally have your own pit band, too. Your choice. Click Here for information on SHOW|READY & STAGE|TRACKS by Right On Cue Services for TRW.

Once you are ready to start planning your show, we know for middle school drama directors, having just the right number of roles is crucial. In casting WANDA, you’ve got a chance to involve as many actors as you like. WANDA’S WORLD can be performed with as few as 11 actors (6F/5M) or as many as you wish. Click Here to see more on expanded casting.

WANDA’S WORLD was produced Off-Broadway by Amas Musical Theatre, in association with Terry Schnuck, where it received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Book of a Musical and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Musical.

Click Here for your Free E-Perusal of WANDA’S WORLD.

Click Here to go to the WANDA’S WORLD homepage.

Photos: 2008 AMAS Production, © Carol Rosegg