Dragon Tales Live: Missing Music Mystery

Vee Productions and Broadway L.A. present Dragon Tales Live: Missing Music Mystery at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, February 2-5.

A Scene From "Missing Music Mystery"

So you're looking for some cool and fun family entertainment this weekend?  With limited children's fare opening in movie theaters today, I highly recommend packing up the kids and driving over to the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.  There you will find the new stage musical Dragon Tales Live: Missing Music Mystery, which opened to a packed house last night.

For the uninitiated, the show is a live production of PBS's top-rated children's program Dragon Tales.  If you know about Barneyand The Teletubbiesthen you have an idea of what Dragon Tales is all about.

A Scene From "Missing Music Mystery"

The show is an animated fantasy adventure series featuring 6-year-old Emmy, her 4-year-old brother Max and their four dragon friends.  Each episode is set in the whimsical world of Dragon Land, where the young duo and their colorful pals help each other overcome various preschool challenges like expressing their emotions and tying their shoes.

Dragon Tales Live is a Broadway-style musical featuring the original voices heard on the award-winning television series.  In Missing Music Mystery, we catch up with Emmy and Max on one of their journeys to Dragon Land where they hope to attend a concert at the bubbly Singing Springs.  But something goes horribly wrong.  After a few notes, the melody-making well of music suddenly falls silent.  Oh no!   How can you have an annual concert without the Singing Springs?  It's now up to Emmy, Max and all of their dragon friends to solve the mystery of the missing music.

Emmy is smart, confident and a born leader.  So, naturally, she takes charge and heads up the investigation.  We soon find out that Emmy is also impulsive and acts before she thinks.  And that does not bode well when you're leading a team into the dark and unknown woods of Dragon Land!

Cassie and Hoppy in "Missing Music Mystery"

Brother Max is Emmy's partner in crime.  He's just as fearless but often insists on doing everything by himself.  (There is no 'I' in team young man!)

The four dragons also have issues.  Cassie, the pink dragon, embodies the characteristics every parent wishes to have in a daughter' compassion, thoughtfulness and generosity.  But she's also shy and sensitive.  One of Cassie's challenges is developing the confidence to speak up and tell others what's on her mind.

Despite his rough and tough exterior, Ord, the blue dragon, is just a big ol' softie.  His dream is to be more brave and confident like Emmy and Max so he can join in on Dragon Land adventures. (Think the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz).  

A Scene From "Missing Music Mystery"

Parents of young twins will relate to Zak and Wheezie, the two-headed dragon.  This brother and sister duo may share a body, but they are complete opposites.  Zak is a worrier and a pessimist.  Wheezie is wild and free-spirited.  Their mission is to learn to work together and respect each other's feelings.

Throw into the mix a wild assortment of grouchy giants, rapping rhyme birds and dancing dandelions and you've got quite a show that not only entertains but teaches children valuable lessons in a non-preachy way.  I won't give away too many details, but in the end every character learns something special about themselves.

Unlike most stage plays, this production actually encourages audience participation.  So bring your dancing shoes!  Four cast members lead the crowd in a song and dance number even before curtain call.  It's quite a sight to see middle-aged moms and dads shaking their 'dragon tails' alongside four- and five-year olds!

Emmy and Max Flying High in "Missing Music Mystery"

Ariel Henkin of Northridge brought her four-year-old daughter, Chloe, to last night's opening performance. 'I think it's great that they teach children to share, to be good friends and to be involved,' she said. 'That was the best part.'

The young theatergoers seemed to be more interested in the storyline and seeing their favorite stars live on stage.  And who could blame them!  With the dazzling lights, flying dragons and pop-up props, the colorful set is quite a visual treat for the eyes.  

At intermission, seven-year-old Elizabeth from Lancaster told me she couldn't wait for Act II.  She wanted to know now what happened to the missing music!  I checked in with her after show for a quick review.  'I like it a lot,' she said.  'I give it four stars!'

Parents familiar with the Dragon Tales television series and numerous DVD releases will enjoy this show.  And not just for the lessons it teaches children.  Missing Music Mystery is a 90-minute magical adventure that will have you reliving your childhood days.  And if you're not clapping, dancing and singing along by show's end then you've missed the point of the show.

Tickets range in price from $19 - $39.  A limited number of $49 Gold Circle seats were also available.  Purchase online at www.BroadwayLA.org, by phone at 213-365-3500 or 714-740-7878, or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

Julian Bryce is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.  He can be reached at [email protected].

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