By Jess Winans
Kelrik Productions’ Downtown ‘Pinkalicious’ debut
Six months ago, Erik Austin was living on the streets of Los Angeles.
Now, he is making his San Diego debut as the co-founder of Kelrik Productions, a production company he started with his sister Kelly 30 years ago in the basement of their childhood home.
“I chose the season [Miracles] based on life. We are all just like Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ traveling down the yellow brick road searching for answers from some magic guru. When he is finally revealed he’s just an ordinary man like us,” Austin said. “This horrific street experience of the homeless in LA completely blew my mind and there were so many times I was frightened for my life. As I explore new venues, meet new people, and experience new things both good and bad through the world of theater, I will never forget the lessons I have learned from being thrown to the street. I believe it is a miracle I am alive.”
Since its inception, Kelrik Productions has produced more than 120 myths, parables and fables in San Luis Obispo. After going through the life-changing experience of homelessness, Austin is ready to bring his company to San Diego, kicking off the Miracles season with “Pinkalicious” playing now in Downtown.
“I’m excited to see what San Diego does for the company,” Erik said. “The Lyceum Theatre is beautiful, and the Horton Plaza area is gorgeous. I’m happy to see the happy kids. They get to meet Pinkalicious after the show and they all leave so happy.”
Based off the 2006 children’s book by Elizabeth Kann & Victoria Kann, “Pinkalicious” is the interactive story and musical performance of Pinkalicious, (Lauren Ashley), a little girl who loves everything and anything pink.
“Other shows are about the artistry, but this one is about putting on something appealing and exciting for kids,” said Ashley. “This is a show really for the audience.”
One day, along with her mother, father and brother, Pinkalicious made pink cupcakes. Like many children, she didn’t want to stop at eating just one pink cupcake. Her mother explained to her that “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset,” but later in the night Pinkalcious snuck into the kitchen to gobble down more pink cupcakes.
Suddenly the stage turned into a pink-cupcake wonderland with doodled clouds looking like coloring book cut outs, cupcake puppets with googly eyes, and dancing cupcakes (played by Olivia Gale Berger and Daniella Mae Sebastian).
Pinkalicious awoke from her pink dream to find that her skin and hair turned pink. Although she was delighted with her new color, her mother, (Kylie Harper), and her father (Edgar Diaz-Gutierrez), were worried about her and her brother Peter (Kyler Waitley), who was extremely jealous.
The family then took a whimsical family bike ride to the doctor, making a pit stop at the park. While there, a more significant theme colors to the surface — pink is for everyone.
This is revealed when Peter wants to play catch with his dad using a pink ball. Mr. Pinkerton warns Peter that pink is not a color that boys can use, and they should play catch with a football.
An entire number, “The Pink Blues,” is dedicated to Peter’s desire to wear pink and live his life without imposed boundaries.
This goes along with Kelrik’s principle of “edutainment” by shedding light on the effects of placing gender roles on children. While Pinkalicious gets to bask in the glow of her pinkness because she is a girl, Peter is forced to remain in the traditional young boy role that fears pink and barbie dolls and doomed to the life of blue and monster trucks.
But, the leading message for kids watching Pinkalicious is that too much of a good thing is never good and you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.
Throughout the play, the theme “pink is love, pink is joy” is seen as it is revealed that the whole Pinkerton family secretly loves the color pink.
“The brother isn’t allowed to love pink, but the father has always loved pink,” Erik said. “At the end of the play, everyone is in pink. There’s so much going on in the world right now and so much craziness. But you can come here for 60 minutes and get to be super happy and pinkalicious.”
The Miracles season is a collection of four plays with “Pinkalicious,” playing April 28–May 6 at the Lyceum Space Theatre.
“Oliver” at La Mesa Church from October–November, “The Little Mermaid” at the Lyceum Theatre from Feb. 1–3, 2019, and “Pippin” at the Lyceum Space Theatre from April 12–21, 2019.
“Pinkalicious” with music by John Gregor, lyrics by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann, and artistic direction from Erik Austin, is playing at the Lyceum Space Theatre in Horton Plaza from April 29-May 6. 2019, kicking off the season of Miracles 2018.
For more information about Kelrik Productions, visit kelrikproductions.org.
— Jess Winans is the editorial assistant of San Diego Community News Network, the parent company of San Diego Downtown News. Reach her at email@example.com.