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'The Beagles' in Little House of Cookies
New York City's premiere theater dedicated to producing children's musicals, TADA! celebrates its 16th birthday by bringing back one of its past productions, Little House of Cookies.

Adapted from Eleanor Clymer's The Tiny Little House by artistic director Janine Nina Trevens, Little House of Cookies is a cream puff of a tale about an abandoned house tucked away and forgotten in the middle of the big city. When Alice, a sweet but unpopular girl, and Jane, the new kid in town, make their way inside the place, they transform it into a funhouse where local odd-woman Mrs. O'Brien can sell her delicious, home-baked cookies to the neighborhood kids, who later come to accept Alice and Jane as friends.

There are no heavy themes here: Little House is just what it is, a story about a strange house and the healing power of a good cookie. The show is definitely geared more toward the younger crowd, but its urban setting keeps its from being a typical fairy tale, not to mention its self-awareness of the period in which it is set (the 1960s). Little House is as much about growing up in the city as it is about escaping to a magical haven: The neighborhood kids are left to amuse themselves and each other out on the streets. They play basketball, explore the area, and, in the case of one talented foursome and their enterprising manager, form a pop group called The Beagles (the adorable Darius Davie, Adam Metzger, Sam Levin, and Devon Beckford).

Happily, many of the energetic young cast members are familiar faces from TADA!'s last production, Everything About Camp (Almost), and the whole bunch does a great job with Dani Altiere's choreography (a creative highlight of the show). Though Joel Gelpe's music and lyrics aren't outstanding, they fit well into this peculiar little story.

Once again, TADA! has proved to be a wonderful outlet for kids who enjoy both performing and watching musical theater. The home-made cookies that the young actors pass out to the audience at the end of the show make Little House of Cookies a treat in more ways than one.

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