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Some Pig!

Barnyard musical focuses on a piglet's search for beauty.

February 09, 2001|ROSEMARY CLANDOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

How can a young pig find beauty inside its pen? Through opera, according to "Figaro . . . Pigaro! A Barnyard Musical," which premieres Saturday at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

In the family comedy, writer Meryl Friedman spotlights a piglet who wants to escape from her dull, dirty pen and find a pretty place for herself in the world. She does it to the tune of opera, which annoys the heck out of the other farm animals.

The play was inspired by Friedman's seven-year experience as a guest artist for the Chicago public school system, she said. When she tried to involve the students in creative pursuits, such as dancing and drawing, many were judgmental and hypercritical of their abilities, she said.

"Very often in our culture we are product-oriented and so the joy of doing is missed," said Friedman, executive producer of the Falcon Theatre. "We measure success by the outcome rather than the love of doing."

"Figaro . . . Pigaro!" features the acting and singing of 12-year-old Candace Lifson. Michael Shepperd, Colleen Kane and Toni Morrell take on multiple roles as barnyard characters.

"Figaro . . . Pigaro!" and similar stories about overcoming obstacles teach children important lessons, said Virginia Walter, president of the Assn. for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Assn. "They give them all sorts of vicarious educational experiences," Walter said. "It shows them what they can aspire to. It's part of growing up."

BE THERE

"Figaro . . . Pigaro! A Barnyard Musical," at the Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank. Through April 1. Saturdays at 1 and 3 p.m., Sundays at 1 p.m. Tickets $10. Call (818) 955-8101.

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