Being different has always been something I have identified strongly with as a Black Female who is a little on the zaftig side. Yet, nothing resonates more than the feeling and need to belong and loved for precisely who I am – uniquely ME.
Upon learning that he is from New York City, a wide-eyed boy who is half human and half alligator, leaves his sheltered swamp life and goes on a journey to seek out the father he never knew he had…until now. Directed by Ryan Crego, Arlo the Alligator Boy, gives us an animated musical full of misfits who quickly become family while looking out for one another. A storyboard artist turned songwriter (just for a minute), Crego (along with partner Alex Geringas) churned out more than thirty tunes and whittled it down to ten including Arlo and Berti’s duet “Follow Me” leaving you inspired and yearning for more. I could totally see this on Broadway becoming a smash hit simply due to subject matter appeal which transcends age and race.
Former American Idol contestant Michael J. Woodard was born to play Arlo. His voice is simply glorious and the vulnerable, innocent, humourous vibe he brings to the character makes him even more endearing. His leading lady Mary Lambert (Bertie) makes Bertie a little shy and reserved until she sings. When that happens, it literally blows your hair in the wind like a Beyoncé music video. Annie Potts (Edmeé), Jennifer Coolidge (Stuckey), Vincent Rodriguez III (Ansel Beauregard – whose voice is simply bananas), Tony Hale (Teeny Tiny Tony) only enhance and compliment their leads with their stellar comedic timing and heart. Not to mention, as a former New Yorker, the nod to the city and pizza made me super happy!
Misfits are always frowned upon and berated for being ‘weird’ or different. That message is painfully brought to life, but we also learn the importance of family – related or not. As long as you know someone loves you somehow even the worst moments in life feel like a rainbow. Being different should be viewed as a badge of honor and THAT message screams through loud and clear. For it is those differences that makes one unique. Streaming on Netflix beginning April 16th, Arlo will leave an infectious song in your heart providing a much needed injection of love and positivity so sorely craved during this pandemic.