Theater Info for Maryland

Pumpkin Theatre Quest of the Ziz Bird

By • Jan 29th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Quest of the Ziz Bird
Pumpkin Theatre: (Info) (Web)
St. Timothy’s School, Stevenson, MD
Through February 3rd
50 minutes
$14 in advance/$16 at door
Reviewed January 26th, 2013

Based on the book “The Hardest Word” by Jacqueline Jules, Quest of the Ziz Bird is an original musical with book and lyrics by Jimi Kinstle and music by Ryan Michael Haase. The result is ideally geared for younger audience with catchy, repeating riffs, a simple story with a good moral, and bright-colored costumes.

The set was simple but bright and colorful with detailed fruits, vegetables, and plants. The costumes were well-designed, especially the very bright and interesting design of the Ziz. The staging was simple but effective, and the occasional breaking of the fourth wall worked to keep the kids participating in the action.

In the story, four children (Noah Tunis, Jory Holmes, Paris Weeks, and Liz Tilley) have been working under the guidance of their parents (Anthony Scimonelli and Vanessa Kinzey) to tend a garden. The Ziz, a large mythological bird (Danielle Robinette, Amanda Rife, and Jayne Harris), accidentally creates a pool in the garden. Excited over the positive reception of the pool, the Ziz becomes excited and destroys much of the rest of the garden. In order to make friends with the children, the Ziz has to find and use “the hardest word” to make everything right.

The performances were all solid, and the kids were cute and talented. The two strongest performances came from Amanda Rife and Jayne Harris who brought tons of enthusiasm and beautiful harmonies to the trio that comprised the Ziz.

While this may not be one of those productions that transcends and enraptures adult audiences as well, even my usually overactive two-and-a-half-year-old was an attentive audience member and that is what really matters.


  • Ziz: Danielle Robinette
  • Ziz Left Wing: Amanda Rife
  • Ziz Right Wing: Jayne Harris
  • Father/Voice of God: Anthony Scimonelli
  • Mother/Voice of God: Vanessa Kinzey
  • Joshua: Noah Tunis
  • Robert: Jory Holmes
  • Dawn: Paris Weeks
  • Ruby: Liz Tilley

The Band

  • Musical Direction: Ryan Michael Haase
  • Flute: Katie Baseman
  • Clarinet, Saxophone: Daniel Benbow
  • Cello: Steven Bainbridge
  • Guitar: Brian Loeper

Design Team & Crew

  • Director: Jimi Kinstle
  • Stage Manager/Properties Design: Ally Cribs
  • Costume Design: Heather Jackson
  • Ziz Design: Valarie Perez-Schere
  • Lighting Design/Projection Design: Heather M. Mork
  • Set Design: Ryan Michael Haase
  • Sound Operator: Kwame Alston
  • Stage Crew: Seth Glasser
  • Scenic Artist: Stefan Hauswald

Disclaimer: Pumpkin Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.