The children’s book written by former President Jimmy Carter and illustrated by his daughter, Amy, comes to life at the Springer Opera House this weekend.
Director Ron Anderson adapted “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer” for the stage. The show is appropriate for kids in kindergarten and elementary school.
The story’s main character is Jeremy, a young boy who is being bullied by other children because he’s smart and physically disabled. His friend, Hugo, who is even smarter, is also being bullied.
One day, as the other children are picking on Hugo and Jeremy, a sea monster comes onto the beach. All the children run away except Jeremy, who can’t run. Jeremy is scared at first but soon becomes friends with the young Snoogle-Fleejer.
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The two have all sorts of great adventures.
Student cast members
The Springer performed this show seven years ago when most of the current cast members were between 4 and 7 years old.
Rikki Hightower, 14, an eighth-grader at Harris County Carver Middle School, remembers seeing the show and “loved it.” She’s playing bully Danielle on the Red Team.
Because the cast is mostly made up of students who perform for their peers and have to miss six mornings of classes during the two-week run, Anderson double-casts the roles. Student actors are either on the Red Team or the Blue Team.
Another red team member, Julia Allen (Sami), 14, an eighth-grader at St. Luke School, said she saw the show seven years ago but doesn’t remember much of it because she was in the second grade.
Joshua Cellar, a 9-year-old fourth-grader at New Mountain Hill School in Harris County, plays Jeremy on the Red Team.
He was a Munchkin in “The Wizard of Oz” earlier this season, but this is his first lead role.
He said it was challenging figuring out how to make his character believable as a child with a physical disability.
He said he makes sure he can turn his ankle a certain way and that he’s careful to keep his movements small.
Adult cast members
Adam Archer, one of two adults in the cast, plays the Snoogle-Fleejer. He’d never seen the show before but was flattered when Anderson insisted Archer would be the perfect “Snoog.”
The other adult actor is Lisa Cesnik, who reprises her role as Jeremy’s mother.
Cesnik said she encourages Jeremy to ignore the kids who are bullying him.
“It does pretty much work,” she said.
She’s grateful when Jeremy makes a friend, but she doesn’t know his new friend is a sea monster.,