Review: Casa’s ‘Dora the Explorer Live’ provides exuberant entertainment

For fans of the hit Nickelodeon show Dora the Explorer, Casa Mañana's live musical will seem quite familiar.

In fact, many of the scenes and music in Dora the Explorer Live! Dora’s Pirate Adventure are taken straight from the popular children’s cartoon. This works well with an audience consisting mostly of ages 6 and younger. The repetitiveness of the animated TV show is what makes toddlers squeal (and parents cover their ears.)

The Casa musical combines a nice mix of child actors with professionals who have a lively interaction with the audience throughout the show. Just like the TV show, Dora must find her party-filled treasure chest, which was stolen by the Pirate Piggies. Dora and her friends must make their way to Treasure Island using Dora's trusted tools -- The Map and her Backpack. With the audience’s help, Dora must navigate over Dancing Mountain, through Silly Singing Bridge and then head to Treasure Island using their map, counting and language skills. Many fans will enjoy singing along to familiar tunes such as the Dora theme song and Isa Turn The Wheel.

Casa’s production found inventive ways to create the 3-D versions of the characters. For example, the backpack was a child actor holding the back pack. The set, designed by Colt Frank, consists of a huge jungle gym that worked well with all parts of the show including as a ship, a bridge and the introductory play yard scene. (With the right donation, you could have the set in your own backyard).

Stefanie Tovar as Dora and Krishma Trejo as Boots played their parts with such exuberance. Trejo even portrayed Boots’ stance with aplomb. Ryan Page as the dastardly Swiper played the fox with the right amount of slyness and humor.

The 15-minute intermission was unnecessary for an hour-long show that was paced pretty well until the break. Also, throughout the show, Dora encouraged the children to wave their pirate flags, which could be purchased for $1. If this was a one-time interaction, there would be no complaint. However, this was encouraged a few times during the show. It would have been better for the organizers to provide flags to the audience or let people know ahead of time to avoid the sad stares from children who could not interact during those scenes.

However, these are minor quips for a show Dora fanatics will especially love.

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