Seattle's Child

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A Parent’s Review: Bugsy Malone

Youth Theatre Northwest specializes in training children and youth in the dramatic arts. Audiences reap the benefits of all the hard work the kids put in to bring major works to the stage. Their latest musical, Bugsy Malone, is tailor-made for this kind of theatrical company.

From the book by Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone is a gangster story about two competing gangs and the regular Joe caught in the middle. Dandy Dan is trying to horn in on the territory of Fat Sam, who calls in Bugsy Malone to help. This puts a damper on his plan to help his best girl, Blousey Brown, get to Hollywood. The genius of the writing is that it's meant for kids – the bootleggers are transporting sarsaparilla soda and the weapons of choice are cream pies and silly string. There are boxers and singers, bumbling detectives and chases. Parker is a world-class film director, and he wrote the story in order to make a film that his children would enjoy.

This lively production will continue to improve as the young cast, between the ages of 9 and 16, gains confidence throughout the run. The actors use New York gangster lingo, which might be difficult for young children to follow, but there's plenty to attract the eye from the silly string flying everywhere to some professional-quality pratfalls. A small band of violin, drums, trombone and trumpet along with the usual piano add another layer of atmosphere to the show.

Whether these kids continue in acting, or if it's a one-time thing, Bugsy Malone demonstrates that they're learning how to "sell" a musical number, create and maintain a character, and convey a story to an audience. Being able to fire silly string at your friends is just icing on the coconut cream pie!



Where: Youth Theatre Northwest, 8805 S.E. 40th St., Mercer Island

When: Through Feb. 13: Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets: Adults $15, children and seniors $13. There are two rows of bench seating down front for kids.

Contact: 206-232-4145;

Have Your Own Rising Star? Youth Theatre Northwest offers drama classes for kids ages 3 through 18. Topics include fundamentals, stage combat, dance, auditions and much more.

Machelle Allman is a Seattle educator, actor, and mom of a third-grader. 

About the Author

Machelle Allman