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How to Cook Up a Good Idea

Review by Rebecca M. Alvin

Kids today have been through a lot. And mostly they’ve watched grown-ups screw everything up, even though they are the ones who are supposed to be the problem solvers in life. In the new, world-premiere play How to Cook Up a Good Idea, a group of children model behaviors we can all learn from, and they do it in classic WHAT for Kids comic style.

The story, written by M.J. Halberstadt, centers on elementary-school aged kids who have an imaginary restaurant in a local playground. As they serve meals for a neverending cascade of stuffed animals and wait for the highly anticipated visit from “The Birthday Cake Critic”—who might just award them a “Michigan Star” if their birthday cake is good enough—the kids come into conflict with one another and have to think creatively to find a way out of these interpersonal crises.

Although this play is presumably meant for younger children, its interactive nature and a handful of nudge-nudge-wink-wink jokes make it an enjoyable production for even slightly older children. Children and adults alike are invited to call out suggestions at key moments for ingredients and menu items as the character and narrator Little Chrys (Paige O’Connor)—the youngest of the group—opens up a cauldron of bubbles to indicate the cast needs help finding their imaginations. It is a delightful invitation that even tweens will relish joining in on.

This is a light, comic children’s play, timed just right for the under-12 set and mostly just an entertaining story that kids will probably relate to from their own friendship trials and tribulations. However, the fundamental message behind it is one that promotes self-reliance and creative thinking to help children problem solve. And yet, we can’t help but wonder who needs the lesson more these days, the kids or the adults.

How to Cook Up a Good Idea is performed Tuesdays through Thursdays through August 11, 7 p.m. at WHAT Larry Phillips Performance Pavilion, 2357 Rte. 6, Wellfleet. The show is performed outdoors. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is not required to attend and masks are encouraged but not required for vaccinated attendees. For tickets ($12) and information call 508.349.9428 or visit

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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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