The Dancing Handkerchief

About the Show

Part magic act, part musical, part puppet show, this world premiere with early songs by Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony-winner Robert Lopez, tells the story of Mysterioso the Magician and his curious child Bastienne who, through an epic separation and reunion, learn to see each other in a truer, hope-filled light. A Balladeer sings delightful tunes that paint a comic and fantastical world inhabited by a beckoning handkerchief, an otherworldly suitcase, magical creatures and one gigantic, ravenous rabbit. A unique hybrid theatrical extravaganza, The Dancing Handkerchief mesmerizes patrons small and tall. The New York Times wrote “audiences will fall under the show’s spell” when FCT workshopped the show in 1999.

Our new 2017 production in collaboration with Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit featuring Tom Key received its world premiere with a lush soundscape of never­-before­-heard songs by Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony-winner Robert Lopez (Frozen, Book of Mormon, Avenue Q).

Press and Reviews

“The actors have a knack for making children laugh and audiences will fall under the show’s spell.”
– The New York Times

“The fanciful and spirited Dancing Handkerchief magically delights…”
– ArtsATL

“…What works most majestically here is the music. Lopez, known for Avenue Q, Frozen, and The Book of Mormon, is the youngest ever recipient of the EGOT (the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards). He has written two new songs (“Disappear” and “Is Music a Kind of Magic”) for the premiere, and his lyrics convey what his characters are thinking and not saying. These are memory songs, not soundtrack songs…Bowman energetically sings that opening number and brings a melancholy to her role, as she reflects on the direction the relationship with her father took. Bowman and Key establish a nice father-daughter relationship amidst the almost dialogue-free setup…”
– ArtsATL

“Written and directed by Flying Carpet artistic director Adam Koplan, and starring Outfit artistic director Tom Key as the magician, “Handkerchief” also boasts a few “early” songs by Robert Lopez…under the music direction of the estimable S. Renee Clark, the songs are nicely vocalized by Deborah Bowman and ably accompanied by a four-piece band (including Clark on keyboards). Bowman plays the adult Bastienne, who opens the show as some kind of a rock star, before flashing back to her childhood, where she watches from the sidelines as Devon Hales (and a puppet) perform the younger version of herself. Despite her musical aspirations, she’s recruited by her father to be an assistant in his magic act, until “creative differences” between them lead to an estrangement. Like Alice venturing through the looking glass, Bastienne is soon magically transported into Mysterioso’s bag of tricks, which leads to fantastical encounters with some of the props he uses in his act: His deck of cards becomes a snake of sorts; his interlocking metal rings materialize as a winged insect; even the proverbial rabbit he pulls from his top hat makes an appearance (also played by Key). Rounding out the cast are a couple of welcome sights — Spencer Stephens, a resident puppeteer with the Center for Puppetry Arts, and Jeremy Aggers, who plays a fine guitar in the band, and later impersonates the role of Mysterioso’s dancing handkerchief.”
– The Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Is it possible to gather small children, millennial parents and septuagenarians into a room and fill the space with joy? Theatrical Outfit accomplishes this with ease through the magic of a musical, the world premiere of The Dancing Handkerchief, a daring stage exercise combining music, dance, and color through the boundless wonder of imagination.”
– Down South Today