"It reminded me of...Robin Hood!" Wait, wrong musical. But this musical, Children's Letters to God, is like the one from which that line is taken, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Both are based on published works, written from a child's viewpoint. Each song in both plays represents a different episode or situation in the kids' lives. The songs in each are not complex, generally humorous (although not so to the characters, of course), and likeable. The one difference is that the stars of this musical are actually children. Their acting is, naturally, not entirely comfortable, but overall, they manage a creditable job. In "How Come?" each child is just as serious about smelly feet as he or she is about world peace. They do have that Andrea McArdle warbling singing style, however. Most of the songs begin with a recitation of letters to God, as they appeared in, or were inspired by, the book of the same name. The lyrics take off from there, carrying on with a cleverness that mimics a child's seemingly random association between things and using the language of kids (words such as "dorkhead" and phrases such as "spray milk out of your nose"). Some of the situations are timeless (the death of a pet, wishing you were an only child), while others are strictly modern (do you need to choose between Kwanzaa, Chanukah, and Christmas). David Evans has not dumbed down the music to kid level, but rather, takes into account the unsophisticated nature of their skills. The kids actually do surprisingly well when it does occasionally break out into five-part harmony. Refreshingly, among all the other entertainment options for and about kids, this musical is entertaining because of what it is not: it's not too cutesy, it doesn't have that "awwww" factor, and it isn't directed just at adults or just at kids. It's an amiable, sincere, bemusing look at how kids think.
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AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita
|Children's Letters to God, musical play|