Review: SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, M. LA TRAPPE

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ZACH Theater presents a cheerful new musical, SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, MR. HATCH, based on the popular 1991 book by Eileen Spinelli. Adapted for the stage and directed by Emmy winner Allen Robertson, the show is a heart-shaped gem that anyone of any age can enjoy.

Narrated by Melanie Todd (Chloe Van De Graaf, Stella Frye Ginsber and Lila Gonzalez in rotation), the story follows Mr. Hatch (Nathan Jerkins) through his lonely daily routine. He wakes up alone, goes to work alone, eats alone, and buys his newspaper and his dinner alone, every day in an endless cycle. The rehearsal is interrupted when a surprise package is delivered by the postman, with a note that says, “Someone loves you.” It is these three words that open up a whole new world to Mr. Hatch, a world where he meets his neighbours, Mr. Smith (Paul Sanchez) and Mrs. Todd (Quick Amber) and becomes a beloved member of his community. When it is discovered that the anonymous package should have been delivered to an alternate address, Mr. Hatch loses his newfound joy and resumes his solitary existence. Have no fear, his neighbors show him how much they love him, he finally understands that life is better when shared with others. It’s a great story with a valuable message, and ZACH’s production turns a special story into an extraordinary piece.

Playwright, composer and director, Allen Robertson has a golden touch when it comes to theater for young audiences. His use of painfully beautiful music, serious lyrics and just the right amount of audience participation in SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, MR. HATCH makes this show a must see for everyone. Robinson creates a magical world that delights everyone within reach.

The cast is simply spectacular starting with Stella Frye Ginsber (like Melanie the performance I attended). She centers the show brimming with an engaging energy and an achingly pure voice that belies her age. The always amazing Quick Amber as Mrs. Todd gives us a fantastic performance as Melanie’s overworked mother. Nathan Jerkens is brilliant as the main character, his joy and sadness makes us feel every moment of his journey. Maybe my favorite from the cast is Paul Sanchez as Mr. Smith the owner of the local newsstand. His love of performing is evident every moment on stage and his heavenly tenor voice gives me goosebumps. Before the show, the actors (except Mr. Hatch) greet the enthusiastic audience in the theater space, choosing children and adults to participate in the show. Each child chosen to shout lines at the right time was fantastic. It is indeed a beautiful thing to see the participants creating some of the magic.

Young audience and family theater holds a special place in my heart. SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, MR. by Allen Robertson. HATCH at ZACH’s Kleberg stage is a banquet full of joy.

SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, MR LA TRAPPE

Written and Directed by Allen Robertson

Based on the book by Eileen Spinelli

ZACH Theater, Klegberg Stage, 1510 Toomey Road, Austin

April 26 – May 22, 2022

Tickets: $12-$22, Zachtheatre.org/education


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