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Best Moment in a Theater 

Ron Megee as Mr. Pickel

Throughout the Coterie Theatre's wild, colorful production of Louis Sachar's kids' book Sideways Stories From the Wayside School, costume designer Mary Traylor and local luminary Ron Megee came together like vinegar and baking soda. Combined, they fizzed over with pure, kid-pleasing craziness. As a whole parade's worth of batshit authority figures, Megee donned an escalating series of silly outfits, playing tango-dancing biddies and lunatic Germans, culminating at last in the immortal Mr. Pickel: a mincing fool of a guidance counselor done up with rosy cheeks, a goofy Caesar cut and a clownish orange goatee as long as a feather duster. With his voice pinched and comic and his bearing a burlesque of tin-pot authority, Megee as Pickel launched into a cleaned-up riff on the old anything-goes Late Night Theatre spirit. He sneered at Martin Buchanan (who played a school janitor) and cast a spell that forced him to disco dance. As staged by director Missy Koonce, the moment was electric in its playfulness — she won laughs from grown-ups at a show for kids without doing anything the kids wouldn't get.

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