By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Pied Piper Players is debuting a new musical, and they’re one of only two theater groups in the country to present it.
“Porridge” was written by British composer Craig Hawes, who penned last year’s Pied Piper production, “Pirates of the Curry Bean.” “Porridge” was given to only four theater companies – two in Europe and two in America – and Pied Piper Players is one of the four.
“We’re one of the few places that is a children’s theater. There are no adults doing anything for any of the kids,” said director Jane Miller.
The cast is made up of kindergarteners through eighth-graders, and the tech crew is made up of teens.
“‘Porridge’ is a mystery of mammoth proportions,” Miller said. “It’s about an organized crime porridge ring, and Papa Bear is a cereal killer. He wants to get rid of all the cereal. He wants to white out Wheaties and kill Corn Flakes.”
It’s up to gumshoe Jack Spratt (Trevor Hart) and the police, headed up by Chief Inspector Drain (Jade Waller) to solve crimes, while bad guys like the Wicked Witch, Big Bad Wolf and Peter Piper insist they’ve been framed.
“It’s so stupidly funny,” Waller said. “It’s like a spin-off of all the stories everybody already knows. It’s hilarious.”
Afton Gable, 8, stars in her first Pied Piper play, after falling in love with theater at theater camp this summer. She stars as Miss Muffet, complete with her own curds and whey.
“I scream ‘Spider!’ a lot,” she said. “I like that there are a bunch of characters, and I like to sing and dance. I like the very first song, ‘Once Upon a Crime.’”
Miller said the true story of nursery rhymes will be explained in “Porridge.”
“Goldie was framed,” she said. “You think you know the story, but you don’t.”
• What: Pied Piper Players presents “Porridge”
• When: 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
• Where: Milam Auditorium, Tupelo
• Cost: $7/adults, $5/students
• Info: thepiedpiperplayers.com