Photo Credit: Michael Horan
This story features “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” presented by Adventure Theatre MTC. Learn more about this performance and get tix on the event page here.
Everyone has a bad day now and then, but 12-year-old Alexander is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day from the moment he wakes up. Adventure Theatre MTC (ATMTC) will bring his story, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” from page to stage in a new musical version through March 31.
The Glen Echo-based children’s theater company received three Helen Hayes awards for its productions in 2017, and is nominated for two more this year.
Through Alexander’s eyes, we see how events that might be mere indignities for an adult can be monumental to a child. Children have such strong emotions, the highs are so high and the lows so low, according to Director Cara Gabriel. “This story is very human,” she said. “He’s a kid who needs to be heard and understood.” From waking up with gum in his hair to bedtime bathwater that’s too hot, one thing after another goes so wrong in Alexander’s day; he wishes he was far away in Australia. The book ends with a resigned Alexander saying, “My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.” Set to music, the words have a hopeful note.
ATMTC Artistic Director Michael J. Bobbitt considers “Alexander” the ideal children’s show and holds it up to new playwrights as an example of the kind of play he wants them to write. “‘Alexander’ does it so well,” he said. “Parents and kids love this show because it really showcases how hard children are challenged every day for the things we adults take for granted,” Bobbitt said. “And when things go awry, it makes it even more difficult. And as a children’s theater, that’s an important message for kids: we understand, and we think your voice is important.”
ATMTC last staged “Alexander” in 2012, but this is not the same show, Bobbitt said. Musical Director William Yanesh updated the score with arrangements that are more complex and contemporary. The songs really pop and are more in tune with what today’s children are listening to, Bobbitt said.
The cast is filled with excellent musical theater performers, many who are veterans of D.C. area adult and children’s theater productions, Gabriel said. “Audiences will be treated to a bright, lively, ensemble of supremely talented and delightfully quirky actors,” she said.
Three cast members were Gabriel’s students at American University, where she is an assistant professor in the Department of Performing Arts. Alexander is played by Christian Montgomery, 25, who was nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards in 2017. Montgomery, who described himself as a child at heart, said he enjoys bringing out his inner child on the stage. The story is very relatable. “We all have good days and bad days, and that’s OK,” he said. “The lesson is, ‘It’s OK to feel sad–every day is a new day,’” Montgomery said.
Adults and children of all ages will relate to the show, Gabriel said, adding, “Mostly, I want to remind our audiences that even after an epic failure of a day, there can still be hope, that even in the darkest of times, love can prevail.”
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” is onstage from through March 31 at Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Road, Glen Echo Park. Tickets, $19.50, may be purchased online at www.adventuretheatre-mtc.org or by calling 301-634-2270. Learn more about this performance here.