Super heroes aren’t just for the silver screen any longer. The A.D. Players new production “The Hero Squad vs. The Supervillain’s Apprentice” premiered last night. The show is an awesome production for children of all ages plus those that are young at heart.
The AD players have been around for more than 40 seasons and produce not only adult productions but have an entire season geared just towards children. The group was founded in 1967 being known as After Dinner Players. In 1975, the Players created a touring company that gained international acclaim. In the late 70s, they purchased the Grace Theater, where they perform today. During this time, the group also established an academy with drama classes geared towards children. The company created the first Houston year round children’s theater, which is still thriving today.
Their current play tells the story of the Hero Squad, which consist of 3D (Braden Hunt), Lindy (Leslie Lenert), The Iron Lung (Travis Hayes) and Slapshot (Trisha Wise). The heroes go about their normal day, waiting to be called upon to act as the heroes they are. Each character has a distinct and unique personality showcased throughout the production. All of the characters are fun and have a hero for every child’s personality. 3D is the strong, confident leader, Lindy, the positive, humble female lead, The Iron Lung, the fun, video game loving brother of Slapshot who might be seen as a bratty younger sister, yet is a sporty, energetic hero.
The super villain, Nikolai Oshgoshbgoshnikov (Stephen Hurst) and his apprentice, his niece, Veronica Shantel (Beth Lazarou), want to take down the Hero Squad, as any good villains would. Veronica, although the student, has a plan to take down the group by coming in between them with lies and then using her inventions to destroy them completely. Hurst and Lazarou have a good working chemistry on stage that offers both a diabolic yet comedic tone.
Her minnows, as you might call them consist of a rather love able, oversized teddy bear, Mr. Tugg’n’buttons (Kurt Bilanoski) and a robotic pony, The Ponybot (Brittaney Riojas). These clever, yet diabolical hunch men are prefect compliments to the overall theme and flow of the production. As the Supervillian’s race to destroy the Hero Squad, the audience watches to see will good triumph over evil.
The production is designed for all ages and last night proved it could hold the action of a kid of any age. The acting is spot on by all cast members, which keep the kids engaged and entertained. The main goal of the theater is to “have fun” and this show more than delivers. Not only will the children have fun but also the parents can rest easy knowing their child is seeing age appropriate material with good morals and values. Also stick around after the show for questions with the cast and audiences can even get autographs.
Be sure to stop by A.D. Players and see this production running now through May 18. For tickets, check out their site here or get them at the door. Also, check out the other exciting classes the academy is offering for children age five through 18. Be sure to connect with them socially on Facebook and Twitter as well as see their pictures on Flickr. Keep an eye out for the 2014-2015 season, which will be announced soon.