We closed Captain Louie, Jr. on Halloween day. The dynamic and contagious music of Stephen Schwartz is the star of this show and the book is often sweet and sometimes touching. I went into this project with 3 major goals. 1. I wanted to convey the vibe of Louie's neighborhood and friendships so that the audience could feel the pain of "goodbye" and the relief of "hello". 2. I wanted my kids to sing every note on the page - every single harmony! 3. I wanted to fit the whole show into a rolling dorm trunk.The first 2 goals were met with weekly vocal work and lots of Meisner technique! The third was just a matter of repeating the mantra, "if it doesn't fit - it doesn't fly!" In the end, I believe the audience felt the sadness of Louie trying to hold on to his old friends and the joy of new friends reaching out to him. And, I'm happy to report that with careful packing, all of the stuff fit into the trunk. (30 flashlights, a basketball, a stuffed snake, a sweater, ice skates, a tap light, purple fabric, 2 paper plates, and Louie's diarama.)The kids created the foam core flats in the style of the Ezra Keats book "The Trip" - the effect was charming. Their creativity was something to behold as the buildings came to life. The Chrysler Building was so fabulous that I'm saving it for Millie! When the curtain opened, it was like a peek inside the picture book. The only set pieces used were a red trunk for Louie's room (also the base of the Big Red Plane) and the old black dorm trunk for Julio's front porch step (filled with props for Spiffin' Up Ziggy's). "Strike" was an all time record coming in at under 20 minutes. I'm sure the incentive of "Trick or Treat" that evening helped the process along!In all, Project Louie taught us all some important lessons. The importance of friendship, working together to create something bigger than yourself, and that sometimes - less is more. The smiles on the kid's faces and their pride in accomplishment shined brighter than the Chrysler Building.