When I was in elementary school, my mom was a volunteer at the school library. Every week she would bring home a few books for us to read together. Our favorites, by far, were the books in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think we read each one of them at least twice. We even checked out several biographies of Laura Ingalls Wilder so we could learn more about her and see what she and her family looked like. When we heard the books were being made into a television series, we were ecstatic.
On September 11, 1974, we watched the pilot episode of Little House On The Prairie. It instantly became my favorite show on television. I loved the way it brought the stories and the characters to life. Everything about it was quaint and charming. I remember wishing I could spend an afternoon in Walnut Grove with Laura and Mary and taste the homemade bread Ma baked.
I was watching television a few days ago when I happened to see a commercial for Little House On The Prairie, The Musical. I did a double take. Did I hear that right? Ma, Pa, Laura and Mary singing? My first thought was 'I wonder what the actors from the series think of that?'. My question was immediately answered when I saw Melissa Gilbert singing and dancing a jig. Apparently, she plays Ma in the musical adaptation.
I'm not a purist about too many things. When it comes to food, I'm all for eating it any way you like. You want ketchup on your steak? That's fine by me. Fusion cuisine? Go for it! The same goes for fashion. Rock those legwarmers if you've got them! You can even wear white after Labor Day without bothering me in the least. But some things just shouldn't be messed with, and Little House On The Prairie is one of them.
I was perplexed when Hallmark made a new Little House On The Prairie movie. Why, I wondered, would you want to see anyone other than Michael Landon in the role of Charles Ingalls? Could they have found another spitfire child actor to play Halfpint? It wasn't a movie that I had any interest in seeing, but I thought if they had found a new way to share the wonderful stories written by Laura Ingalls Wilder with a new generation, that was worthwhile.
I can't say I feel that way about a musical version. I don't understand setting the trials and hardships of the Ingalls family to music. Do they have a catchy tune to belt out when Pa's crops fail or Mary loses her sight? Will Nellie dance and sing while she taunts Laura?
I just don't get it. If it comes to my town, I think I'll pass. I'll wait for Little House On The Prairie on Ice. I wonder if Melissa Gilbert can skate?