/ The Dallas Guide
Dallas — By Tui Cameron on May 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm
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Dallas Summer Musicals presents Little House on the Prairie – The Musical

Little House on the Prairie ensemble with Melissa Gilbert

Little House on the Prairie ensemble with Melissa Gilbert

I recently had the pleasure of attending Dallas Summer Musicals production of “Little House on the Prairie – The Musical.” The story is based upon the classic book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which chronicles a young pioneer family struggling to create a new life out west.

Those who have read the Little House books, or watched the TV series, won’t be disappointed by this new stage adaptation. The fast-paced story covers a lot of ground; in two and a half hours, we watch the spunky tomboy, Laura, become a young lady, fall in love and head off into a life of her own. Even so, the musical manages to pay homage to fun sub-plots, such as snotty Nellie Oleson’s conniving ways, and the special relationship between Laura and her Pa.

The production is well-cast, and many of the performers have Broadway experience, including
Steve Blanchard, who plays Pa. Newcomer, Kara Lindsay, who stars as Laura, morphs convincingly from a 10-year-old into a 19-year-old, and belts out her solos with ease. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura, a.k.a. “Half Pint,” in the hit TV show as a child, now plays Ma in the musical. Although her voice is not the strongest in the ensemble, her solo, “Wild Child,” is one of the most moving moments in the show. Gilbert received hearty applause the moment she stepped onto the stage, and is clearly a box office draw.

Laura and Almonzo take a romantic buggy ride in Little House on the Prairie

Laura & Almonzo

“Little House on the Prairie – The Musical” makes a great family outting. I noticed a high percentage of little girls in attendance, and it was fun to hear them excitedly discussing the plot during intermission. (Speaking of intermission, I recommend ordering from the Intermission Menu before taking your seat.  You skip the hassle of long lines since your snacks already await you at an elegant table in the dining room.)

The early 1800’s is not a time period known for promoting equality for women, and yet “Little House on the Prairie – The Musical,” features strong female characters. The audience clearly enjoyed these spirited ladies of the prairie. For instance, when the character, Laura, announced that she could never include the word, “obey” in her marriage vows, the crowd clapped and hooted in approval.

It’s no surprise then, that the director, lyricist, and composer are all women; however, one could argue that the basis for this strong female presence goes right back to the books. In any case, “Little House on the Prairie – The Musical” manages to impress upon the viewer that times were tough without getting sappy or heavy-handed. I left the theater with a smile on my face, and you surely will, too.

Now in its 70th season, Dallas Summer Musicals has plenty more up its sleeve for 2010,  including “Wicked” (May 26-June 27), “Dreamgirls” (June 30-July 18), and “Shrek the Musical” (September 28 – October 17.)

What: The Dallas Summer Musicals production of “Little House on the Prairie – The Musical”
When: May 11th-23rd, 2010
Where: Music Hall at Fair Park (map)
Price: $15-$71
Ticket information: Tickets are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, and may be purchased online.
More information: Dallas Summer Musicals official website.

NOTE: Tickets were provided to me by Dallas Summer Musicals  for review purposes.

Photo credits: <>Joan Marcus, Courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals

Related places:
  1. A
    Music Hall
    909 1st Avenue, Dallas, TX
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