An American Tail the Musical

Children’s Theatre Company production of An American Tail The Musical, Sunday, April 23, 2023 Minneapolis, Minn. By Glen Stubbe Photography


If you grew up watching the 1986 animated classic An American Tail or its beloved sequel Fievel Goes West, you’re sure to love Children’s Theatre Company’s world premiere production of An American Tail the Musical, playing now through June 18th. Just as in the movie, An American Tail (book and lyrics by Itamar Moses) tells the story of Fievel Mousekewitz (Matthew Woody), a young Jewish-Russian mouse emigrating to the United States during the second immigration boom in the 1880s. He is separated from his family and begins a grand adventure through the streets of New York City. There he liberates orphans stuck in a sweatshop “happy fun place,” aids in a rally to unite the uptown and downtown mice of NYC against the Cats, meets the bird in charge of building the Statue of Liberty, and much much more. The new musical features all the songs you love from the film, plus the addition of brand new favorites with music and lyrics by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler. The production is the perfect blend of nostalgia, creativity, and hope for a brighter world, and sitting in the audience full of delighted and curious children is always an adorable way to spend a couple hours.

The story is held together by the Mousekewitz family, Papa (Luverne Seifert), Mama (Becca Hart), Tanya (Lillian Hochman) and, of course, Fievel. While Fievel is off having his own adventures on his way back to his family, Papa, Mama, and Tanya discover that the New World they had dreamed of wasn’t the fairy tail… tale… they had been told of. There ARE cats in America, and the streets are not (after all) paved with cheese. They experience the same immigrant experience that we were taught about in history classes. They came through Ellis Island, they were put up in a tiny apartment, work a thankless job, and wonder why they left home at all. Meanwhile, Fievel meets new friends like Henri (Deidre Cochran), Tony (Ryan London Levin), and Bridget (Kiko Laureano) who show him exactly why America has always thrived on the ingenuity and dreams of immigrants.

The entire ensemble work seamlessly together, filling out the world of 1885 New York City with feisty orphans, scheming cats, and dancing cockroaches, and, as is true with all Children’s Theatre Company productions, the student performers are as excellent as their adult counterparts. Standouts include Monica Xiong (who gives an outstanding bi-lingual performance as Qiujin) and Mabel Weismann (hilarious as the aging sweatshop worker, Stu). In leading roles, Woody as Fievel and Hochman as Tanya give stirring performances of “Somewhere Out There” towards the end of the first act, and Hart is an absolute treasure every time she steps on stage as Digit, the twitchy and neurotic assistant to the villainous Warren P. Rat (also delightfully doubled by Seifert.) Levin is incredibly charming as Tony, especially when paired with the lion-hearted Laureano as Bridget.

The set is cleverly contained within the shape of a suitcase resembling the one Fievel carries in the film, and the use of scale is very effective in reminding the audience that this is a world that takes place in miniature within our own. Designed by Jason Sherwood, the set works perfectly with lighting design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew and the delightful/terrifying puppets designed by Christopher Lutter-Gardella. Every mouse, rat, cat, and bird has their own special costuming courtesy of Trevor Bowen. The entire production is cohesive and clever, a testament to the work of Director Taibi Magar and choreographer Katie Spelman.

An American Tail the Musical is a delightful children’s story with metatextual social commentary that is alarmingly relevant in the 140 years since Fievel arrived in the New World. Featured in the program and pre-show announcements are the now common “Land Acknowledgement” messages, in a show about immigrants this is even more poignant. Other than the Native people of this continent, we all come from somewhere else, we all immigrated at one time or other. One of the final images of the production features a handful of ensemble members clearly dressed as modern immigrants, a reminder that the immigrant struggle and hope for a better life in a new world is still the dream of millions. Their story is our story. Their tale is our tail… tale…

Tickets to An American Tail the Musical may be purchase online at or by calling the ticket office at 612.874.0400. Ticket prices start at $15. School groups interested in attending An American Tail the Musical can contact for more information. This production is best enjoyed by all ages. Lap passes are available for children 3 years and younger. April 25-June 18, 2023 UnitedHealth Group Stage, Children’s Theatre Company.

An American Tail the Musical. Book and lyrics by Itamar Moses, Music and lyrics by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler, Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment animated film, Music Supervision by Andrea Grody, Choreography by, Katie Spelman, Directed by Taibi Magar. Creative Team and Production Staff for An American Tail the Musical includes: Jason Sherwood (Scenic Designer), Trevor Bowen (Costume Designer), Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (Lighting Designer), Katharine Horowitz (Sound Designer), Christopher Lutter-Gardella (Puppet Designer), Talvin Wilks (Dramaturg), Keely Wolter (Dialect Coach), Victor Zupanc (Associate Music Supervisor/Conductor), Jason Hansen (Copyist), Emma Lai (Assistant Director), Emily Madigan (Assistant Choreographer), Ellie Simonett (Assistant Lighting Designer), Sten Severson (Associate Sound Designer), Jenny Friend (Stage Manager), Kathryn Sam Houkom (Assistant Stage Manager / Stage Manager), Z Makila (Assistant Stage Manager), Cortney Gilliam (Stage Management Fellow/PA), and Jiccarra N. Hollman (Stage Management Fellow/PA).


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