WILKES-BARRE — One little boy likes Greek mythology and bugs. That’s OK.
Another kid has a birthmark on his butt. That’s OK too.
As the title character in the musical “Freckleface Strawberry” learns, it’s also OK to have red hair and freckles. There’s no reason to hide all that bright color under a ski mask.
Families are welcome to attend the musical at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts this weekend — the show is free, but you should make reservations — to watch an enthusiastic young cast perform the story of Strawberry and her friends.
Presented in partnership with King’s College, “Freckleface Strawberry” is a sensory-friendly performance with subdued lighting and sound. It’s designed to provide a comfortable experience for people who may be sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as children and adults who are on the autism spectrum.
To make the atmosphere even more welcoming, director Skyler Makuch said, there will be cushions in front of the stage, which is set up in the Kirby Center’s Chandelier Lobby. It’s OK for audience members to rest there instead of on conventional chairs, said Makuch, a King’s College student from Mountain Top. And it’s OK for them to get up and walk around.
“They’re just like everyone else,” said cast member Ashley Surdovel, a King’s College student from Topton. “A lot of them don’t usually get this (a theatrical experience) because they can’t go to a traditional theater without fear of being judged.”
Acceptance is a recurring theme of the show. As cast member Ciaran Burke, of Wilkes-Barre, sang joyously in a recent dress rehearsal: “Be yourself. You don’t have to be anyone else. Whether you’re a giant or an elf, just be yourself.”
The music is upbeat; the costumes are vibrant; the props are fun.
Cast member Maddison Black, as the Ballet Girl, gets to ride a scooter, and Kingston resident Ericka Law, as Strawberry, gets to ride a bicycle. Several other performers get to use the seesaw.
Among the perks of portraying small children, cast member Jonathan Vojtko said, “We’ve even played tag at rehearsals.”
Showtimes are 10 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Free tickets are available at the Sundance Vacations Box Office at the Kirby Center and by phone at 570-826-1100.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT.