REVIEW: An American Tail

If you’re looking for a delightful family-friendly theater experience, look no further than the Minnesota Children’s Theater’s production of “An American Tail.” This charming musical, based on the classic animated film, tells the story of a young mouse named Fievel who emigrates from Russia to America in search of a better life, namely one without cats.

The production is a visual feast, with colorful sets and costumes and skillful sound and lighting effects. The talented cast brings the story to life with infectious energy and enthusiasm that transport the audience to a bygone era with humor and heart. The role of Feival is challenging, but actor Matthew Woody  more than up to the task.

The musical numbers are a mixed bag, but the showstopping “Somewhere Out There“ now than makes up for the lesser bits (not that the kids really care but the time the dancing cockroaches emerge in the second act). There were also a few sound issues in the second half, with some performers mics either too loud or too quiet, but they should be easy enough to sort out.

But what truly sets this production apart is its heartfelt message of hope and resilience. As Fievel faces challenges and setbacks on his journey, he learns the importance of perseverance, friendship, and cooperation. Playing up on the unabashedly pro-labor and anti-corruption messaging of the film, the stage adaptation still resonates with audiences of all ages, and leave them feeling uplifted and inspired.

Overall, “An American Tail” at the Minnesota Children’s Theater is a must-see for anyone looking for a heartwarming and entertaining theater experience. With its talented cast, charming production values, and uplifting message, it’s a show that’s more than just a place to bring the kids. It was surprising how many younger adults and older couples were in the audience. While I was smack dab in the middle of the target audience for the original film, my guess for those on either side of my demographic recognized the collection of talent assembled by the Children’s Theater Company and were eager to see the results. I’m certain they went home as happy as the kiddos.

An American Tail plays through June 18, 2023 at the Minnesota Children’s Theater in Minneapolis. Tickets start at $15.

Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography