"It is the first-rate cast of some of Chicago’s finest singing actors who grab the story by the scruff and nearly leap from the stage into the audience’s laps."
"The increasingly dark tale contrasts with the whimsical instrumentation, which includes three pianos played by musical director Nick Sula — an upright, a "prepared" piano with objects stuck in the strings, and a toy piano — as well as other toy instruments played by the cast. Though I'd argue it's more a play with music than a musical, the songs serve the mood well by offering slightly acidic, but often beguiling, twists on styles ranging from music-hall numbers to lullabies."
"...Coraline brims with creativity from costumes and props to sound effects and choreography, and the cast is about as humble and "blue-collar" as they come. So much energy has gone into the details to provide a one-of-a-kind scaled-down musical experience and a true feast for the senses..."
"Coraline is a unique musical by Stephen Merritt and David Greenspan that is getting a lovely Midwest premiere from Black Button Eyes Productions. Director Edward Rutherford has great passion for this material, and the result is a work that is beautifully designed, well sung, and thematically intriguing."
"People who would like this show are people who like creepy glowing baby-doll heads, chocolate, and cats. I think that people should definitely definitely definitely go see this show. I loved it so much! I think it is a great adaptation; it is even better than the movie. This show I think is good for younger kids that are very brave and that are with their parents. And this is also great for adults and tweens and teenagers too."
"Director Edward Rutherford...creates a number of striking devices: Whenever the ubiquitous fog is mentioned, for instance, it’s created by clapping chalkboard erasers; the lost souls appear out of total darkness as a trio of floating baby-doll heads, creepily lit from within."
"[Black Button Eyes Productions'] presentation of Coraline is a nearly perfect stage rendering of a wonderful story. Everyone involved with the show clearly gives their best efforts and it shows."
"Besides several impressive performances, much of this production’s success can be attributed to the visuals created through Beth Laske-Miller's unique costume designs. Those creepy, ubiquitous black button eyes, that are such a memorable image in this story, appear and disappear as needed with ease, due to Ms. Miller’s ingenuity. The Other Mother’s frightening visage, with her long black hair, paper white skin, long twitchy fingers and venomous red nails, are all products of Ms. Miller’s fertile imagination."
"Kevin Webb gets a few good moments as the cat, and the musical number in which his 'paws' continuously cause discordance is one of the few more drolly funny bits."
Review: Coraline (Black Button Eyes Productions)
"It's worth noting with her razor sharp, blood-red nails, white gloves and those button eyes, the Other Mother --along with the rest of the button-eyed denizens of the other world --might just haunt you a few nights or two after seeing the production..
Of course, seeing these creatures a scant ten feet from the comforts of your theater seat (and the intimate City Lit theater is a fine space for this show) no doubt helps with creating a lingering image or two."
"Basically, Coraline is a rehash of Lewis Carroll’s freaky Victorian classic, Alice in Wonderland. A lesser director would have tried to hide that, but Edward Rutherford, by his own admission, “a tremendous fan of Neil Gaiman’s work,” makes it very clear, that this story is without a doubt an homage."
"The adults' songs, written for standard upright piano in the real world and a modified grand in the Other world ("found" instruments round out the sound in both worlds), are hum worthy memorable, but still establish how strange a place in the world children occupy, whether it's natural or supernatural. The music and movement (direction by Derek Van Barham) are both challenging and the cast executes both quite seamlessly."
Edge Reviews Coraline
"If, like me, you are not one of the many Neil Gaiman groupies in the audience, you’ll likely still enjoy this musical adaptation of Gaiman’s fantastical novel, Coraline (not Caroline). Spunky Coraline Jones (Sheridan Singleton) travels through a netherworld she discovers in her London apartment building; it's here that she meets Other Mother, a seductive, terrifying creator of a world featuring noisy toys, dog theater, and humans with black-button eyes. As in all important journeys, our heroine learns a few things along the way: what it means to be brave and the odd truth that we don’t really want to get what we want—at least not all the time. Nick Sula directs the musical score by Stephin Merritt, which includes songs written specifically for toy piano."
Coraline is Reader Recommended!
"I similarly can’t say enough good things about the cast. Sheridan Singleton does a spectacular job of bringing the title character to life, and I feel as though the spotlight usually reserved for this type of role is well-shared amongst her castmates. The play calls for a small cast, with several actors doubling as rats and dogs and ghost children and all such manner of things, which could lead to a messy production if not handled properly. But the entire cast handles this responsibility really gracefully and the transitions never come across any harsher than they need to. Of particular note is Justin Kimrey, who plays the Father, Other Father, and a slew of others. It was really fun to watch his subtle shifts in energy as he embodied each different role, the scene of the Other Father’s demise being a particular highlight that was very eerie and fun to watch."
Aging Spinsters reviews Coraline