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Alice In Wonderland
Keeping to the classic story and setting, this version strays most from the original in two ways first in its musical treatment and second in its poetic treatment, as most of the dialogue between the songs is written in rhyming meter. This was an interesting choice, making the play seem even more classic, like something from the Shakespearean era instead of a modern remake.
The songs and rhyming meter gave the play a rhythmic, soothing, bedtime story quality... clever and lively, to gentle lovely lullabies.
~ The Capital Times, August 6, 2005
Madison Theater Guild's musical Alice In Wonderland written and composed by family-friendly Madison songwriter Ken Lonnquist strikes a good balance. The script is clean and clever fun; the songs are catchy without drifting into saccharine Disney territory; and the performances are high-spirited, enjoyable community theater.
The plot is true to Lewis Carrolls original, as is the spirit of the script. Lonnquist punches things up by converting the dialogue into rhymed couplets, and successfully adapts the absurd dialogue for the stage.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, August 13, 2005
A lively production, cleverly written and composed
by Ken Lonnquist.
~ Isthmus / August 12, 2005
The surprise of the evening was original music by Ken Lonnquist: simple and spunky tunes that seemed just right.
~ The Capital times, July 31, 1982
The original score was reasonably successful. Three pieces in Act One were excellent, particularly It's A Very Special Day, a bouncy, energetic number by Ken Lonnquist that accompanied a spirited hat-and-cane routine by Alice, The Mad-Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse.
Lonnquist's Who Are You? in the Alice-Caterpillar duet was perfect for the caterpillar's wild gyrations and sepulchral drawl, and his I Wonder How I Came To Wonderland number created a dreamlike mood to end the first act.
~ The Capital Times , October, 1983
Since the show is short and broken by catchy numbers composed by Ken Lonnquist, adults and children can enjoy the music and technical aspects associated with the original production.
The Dodo Bird turns his minor role into a memorable one with an amusing rock-'n-roll piece, Do The Flap, and the Caterpillar is a scene-stealer as he inches along the stage to a crisply punctuated Who Are You?
~ Wisconsin State Journal, October, 1983
Alice is not without its pleasures, though. If youre an adult you can feed your head on Richard Daleys laid-back performance as the Caterpillar. A vision in green right down to his high-topped sneakers, Daley exudes larval insouciance until, in his bluesy dance number, Who Are You?, the cool caterpillar shows he can also shake a proleg.
The music, as performed by Esther McIntosh, David Adler and Ken Lonnquist, is immediately engaging, with some numbers providing the tangy taste of paradox otherwise absent from the production
~ Isthmus, October, 1983
A Christmas Carol
I wanted to let you know that Roberta, Christian and I gathered around the tape-player on Sunday (just like in the 1940's --- pre-Time Vacuum) and listened to your A Christmas Carol presentation from start to finish. We LOVED it and sat transfixed the entire time. What an incredible performance and lovely compositions. Do you realize how talented you are? And, how lucky we are to have you right here in Wisconsin? Thank you for sharing your words, your music, your profound message to our children and our community.
~ Carrie Fritz-Klaus, Oconomowoc
The new musical score by Ken Lonnquist and Doug Brown is both lively and charming.
Scrooge's talking-singing style for Humbug!, a shout of a song, and Ghost Of An Idea is marvelous. Old Joe and Mrs. Dilburs unabashed black humor as they prance around and pick over Scrooges belongings is carried off perfectly in Where The Misers Go, a ghoulish tune with clever lyrics.
The sunny-faced Ken Lonnquist is a fine Mr. Fred and deserves even more credit: he composed the music and wrote the lyrics. All of the numbers work well, especially the haunting A Christmas Carol, which has the sad feel of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. The arrangements are indeed artful, and the string group of violins, viola and cello makes very pleasing music.
~ The Capital Times, December 4, 1982
The music is what makes this version of A Christmas Carol worthy of your time. From the first moment, Lonnquist sets the tone for this version with the haunting A Christmas Carol, which sent a chill down my spine.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 4, 1987
The music by Ken Lonnquist and Doug Brown is quite tuneful, especially simple melodies like A Christmas Carol and All That Glitters Is Not Gold. The dozen or so street children almost steal the show with their charming musical number Hey, Mister Scrooge!
~ Isthmus, December 10, 1987
Ken Lonnquist's song, Wickedest Of Them All featuring the Step-mother and a chorus of dancing mirrors, was probably the pinnacle of the play.
Lonnquist's up-tempo numbers excelled. Sophisticated and distinctive, they sometimes took the story down unexpected byways, adding elements not found in the original. Cinders And Cinderbugs was especially charming, as was the choreography that accompanied it. Little Lost One, a blues-tinged piece with a strong bass line, was excellent. If The Shoe Fits, Insult Song and Bonds Of Wedded Bliss were also good.
~ The Capital Times, February 12, 1983
Another standout is Ken Lonnquist as Cinderellas father, a man who shrinks at the sound of his new wife's voice. Dad adds a reciprocating touch of warmth in an otherwise cold household.
Lonnquist's greatest contribution, though, comes from the 13 songs he wrote for the play. These span the spectrum from general humor to romantic ballads and always incorporate the scenic theme. Many were top-notch memorable tunes.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 12, 1983
Cinderella owes much of its success to several stylish song-and-dance numbers, with original music and lyrics by Ken Lonnquist. There's too much sugar in an early song where Cinderella sings her dreams to the October Moon, but then Lonnquist stirs in the spice for some hot numbers. Cinders And Cinderbugs and Wickedest Of Them All are showstoppers. Ken Lonnquist's music and imaginative production numbers were superlative.
~ Isthmus, February 17, 1983
Too bad, so sad for anyone who misses Childrens Theater of Madisons current production of Cinderella. CTM's musical version of the fairy tale, as dramatized by Anne Thurow and with music by Ken Lonnquist, is filled with real artistic sorcery in its repackaging of the well-worn story.
While the musical score is tuneful, the lyrics combine with the music to reveal gifted and spirited musical comedy songwriting.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 4, 1989
Beauty And The Beast
Anne Thurow and Ken Lonnquist are on a roll. Last Spring for CTM Productions, they collaborated on a lively, hilarious rendition of Cinderella.
As an encore for CTM, the talented duo has put equally imaginative touches to another classic fairy tale, Beauty And The Beast.
From human statues that sing where were all the sculptors When God Handed Out The Brains? to a comic trio of suitors for Beauty's three self-centered, conniving sisters, the show is wonderfully suited for anybody four and older.
Lonnquist, an accomplished composer and musician in Madison, created a host of songs that stand on their own --- everything from love ballads to old fashioned rock n roll. The results are stunning.
The three sisters offer a comic appraisal of their kind-hearted younger sister in Goody Two Shoes. The sister's outlandish suitors strut their stuff to the rock 'n roll beat of Wind Me Up.
What makes Michael Accardo's presence (as the Beast) really awesome is the heartfelt anguish he displays in his strong operatic voice, especially when the Beast beseeches Beauty to love him in Being Here With You.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, October 12, 1989
Adding intrigue and pure delight were the living statues in the Beast's rose garden. This bit of inspiration furnished the story with a new but perfect fairy tale element. The actor's unblinking eyes and surprising song, When Got Handed Out The Brains, were fascinating.
Between each scene Ken Lonnquist's music tip-toed mysteriously, as if down a long, spiral staircase, to that place inside each of us where shivers wait to be released. Every song was a treat, whether deep and dark or light and silly.
Michael Accardo's shaggy Beast, singing I Am An Animal, made us laugh and want to cry.
~ The Capital Times, October 12, 1989
Babar The Elephant
Ken Lonnquist's music and lyrics make the show. A booming, low-pitched tom-tom tells us the elephants are near, the hunters are lurking. A softly swinging latin-beat lends the feel of a hot breeze through tree-tops. There are tender ballads such as Holding My Hand and Lucky Star, waltz-like songs, and a finale, Celebration / Children Of The River, that begins amusingly but ends like an old Negro spiritual.
The hottest number of the evening was Rhino. Five rhinoceroses creep down the aisles to a bluesy, Sam Spade sort of beat. The lyrics switch from something seemingly sinister to "and Rhino gets to play kazoo". They do, making sounds like the high notes of a saxophone. Next they perform a bit of rhinoceros break-dancing and some chorus-line kicks.
~ The Capital Times, May, 1990
Babar, the beloved elephant of storybook fame, jumped off the pages of the children's classics and on to the stage, where he danced and sang his way through the spectacular CTM comedy production, Babar The Elephant.
Ken Lonnquist's original musical score is a wonderful companion to the script. The musical numbers range from the jungle-like calypso beat of Monkey Talk to the endearing Promise To Be True, to the humorous Unconventional, sung by the frisky Old Lady along with several of the Parisians. The kazoo-playing and break-dancing of the rhinoceroses in Rhino and Rhino War Song make the elephants' enemies helplessly endearing and put the audience in hysterics.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, May, 1990
The Travels Of Babar
Now CTM Productions has picked up where it left off two years ago and added another note to the Babar symphony with The Travels Of Babar.
Let me say right off that this is a marvelous production.
The music is top-drawer, the acting is strong, the costuming imaginative, and the pace just steady enough to hold the attention of even a fidgety 2 1/2 year old (mine). Dramatist Anne Thurow and composer Ken Lonnquist have done good work here.
Who can resist the funky rap of the marauding bunch of rhinos? "You've got a horn / Stuck in your head / Your teeth are yellow and your eyes are red!" Or the romantic reverie of Honeymoon Balloon? Fans of Lonnquist's solo concerts will be happy to hear One Speed Bike given such a merry treatment by the performers at the circus where Babar and Celeste temporarily and unwillingly make their home.
~ Isthmus, May, 1992
Music composed by Ken Lonnquist ranged from lively tropical rhythms to touching ballads that worked toward unifying the production. The rhinoceros chorus injected rowdy comedy, sass and loose-limbed line-dancing that the audience loved.
~ Wisconsin State Journal, May, 1992
The Magician's Nephew
It's everything that theater for family audiences should be --- intelligent, magical and fun.
Lonnquist's music score is written in a combination of rock and pop styles, with a couple of nice ballads, particularly The Wood Between The Worlds and Over The River. Lonnquist's five-piece orchestra was terrific, although it sometimes overpowered the singers.
~ The Capital Times, May, 1995
Lonnquist's songs range from Digorys wistful solo pining for the health of his mother, to rockin' and stompin' numbers including the whole cast.
~ Isthmus / May, 1995
The performance brought a beautiful old story--and a very significant message--to life for our families in a delightful way. Our memory of your music and its empowering messages of goodwill and creativity is one that shines, not just in the immediate afterglow of having heard you---but weeks and months beyond!
~ First Unitarian Society, Madison, WI
Everyone was charmed by the original music, the group's
professional singing, and the artistic presentation of the unusual story. A big, warm-hearted success... highly recommended.
~ Cedarburg Cultural Arts Center, Cedarburg, WI
Our entire staff was just delighted with your performance. Your company does a wonderful job. You did a terrific job of engaging the audience. Everyone enjoyed Old Befana. I was pleased with how you stayed afterwards and talked with the audience and even played a few more songs for the children.
~ Inter-Faith Caregiving Network, Waukesha, WI
Old Befana has been presented at the Madison Childrens Museum as part of our holiday cultural series. Multi-cultural programs are an important educational tool and it is refreshing to present a holiday tale that is secular and free of gender bias. We have numerous requests for Old Befana every year. The story is perfect for our needs because it appeals to all: children laugh and sing along with Ken while adults enjoy a professional and spirited performance.
~ Georgia Heise, Executive Director,
Madison Children's Museum
Salto's Horrible Hiccups
Salto's Horrible Hiccups was an amazing performance with a great message for the kids!
~ Madison Civic Center, 2003
Bravo! The production was absolutely marvelous with such a wonderful and talented ensemble cast, great and catchy tunes, creative set and costuming, and such an important message conveyed about proper nutrition and the power of friendship. You are a truly talented musician and the Madison community is blessed to have you!
~ Waisman Center Childrens Theatre
You're awesome, Mr. Lonnquist! We saw and heard Salto's Horrible Hiccups at the Civic Center this Spring and were thrilled. It was a tour de force. If I could I'd nominate you for a Grammy. Hey, maybe I can?!
~ Lewis Beilin, Fitchburg, WI
Que maravilloso! Estupendo! Excelente! Fantastico! You are so talented... what a creative show!
~ Prof. Peg Lonnquist, U Of MN
(Ken's big sister, who wrote the original short-story
upon which the musical is based)
Awesome Salto! Our whole family loved it!
~ Melissa Meyer, Nutritionist