‘Flat Stanley’ comes alive for young SCERA audiences

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Beloved children’s book character “Flat Stanley” will star in his very own musical as part of SCERA’s 2012–2013 Theatre for Young Audiences.

“The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” tells the story of ten year-old Stanley Lambchop, who wishes on a star for a more exciting life. When Stanley’s bulletin board falls on him, he becomes flat enough to travel through the mail and takes off on exciting adventures far from home. The musical opened Oct. 15 and will play through Nov. 2.

Shawn Mortensen, who plays Stanley, said he is excited for audiences to see a real-life version of the literary character they have read about.

“It’s fun to bring ‘Flat Stanley’ to life,” Mortensen said. “People who know Flat Stanley will get to see him and people who don’t know the character will get to experience him on stage.”

[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Mark Philbrick” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]With an all-adult cast, preparing to portray Stanley and his boyish lifestyle was not easy.

“The hardest thing about doing this show is that I’m not ten,” Mortensen said. “It’s hard to characterize a kid. I’ve adapted how I move, walk, everything to look a little more kiddish.”

With a small “Flat Stanley” cast, several cast members play multiple characters throughout the show. Marshall Madsen, who portrays five different people throughout the hour-long performance, said working with everyone has been his favorite part of doing the show.

“These actors are all my childhood heroes that I watched growing up,” Madsen, an Orem native, said. “Getting to do a show with them has just been a knockout.”

The musical, which is based on the children’s book by Jeff Brown, was written with the intent of capturing the experience readers have with Flat Stanley. Many grade schools have students create their own Flat Stanley out of paper, and then send him off to a friend or family member out of the state or country. Stanley is photographed to document his adventures, and then returned to his creator.

Director Julie Nevin drew upon inspiration from her childhood “Flat Stanley” experiences to help in directing the show.

“When SCERA approached me about doing the show, I jumped on the opportunity,” Nevin said. “I remember reading the book when I was little, and I believe I sent out a Flat Stanley to Brazil. I was really excited, because it’s a really fun story.”

“The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” is a relatively new show, with performance rights released earlier this year. Geared toward a younger audience, the show is high-energy and filled with pop-culture references to characters including Harry Potter, Spongebob Squarepants and Luke Skywalker. Eccentric characters who believe in comedy and optimism make up the performance.

“I hope our audiences have fun and enjoy the performance and a chance to see live theater,” Nevin said. “I want people to take away the idea that in our everyday lives, everyone can have adventures.”

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