The Sandman: A Little Nightmare Musical Turned out to be a Twistedly Amazing Dream

Written by: The Bat

The Sandman: A Little Nightmare Musical Turned out to be a Twistedly Amazing Dream


If a director or a haunt brings you a hit, it only makes sense to see more of their work. This theory brought the Dragon and I back to the Majestic Repertory Theater, run by Troy Heard. You might recognize this name, as he is the same director that brought us The Pyewacket Society.

His current show, The Sandman: A Little Nightmare Musical, is described on their website as “a darkly comic musical tale.” That description fits like a perfectly tailored costume. A strange mix of elements, children and a nanny, cuckoo clocks and nutcrackers, a nightmare bedtime story, and hints of ….Nazis?

Dragon: I couldn’t help but get the vibe of The Sound of Music but with an overt dark and twisted theme instead. It was a lot of fun!

It starts out with a newly rich clockmaker and his wife hiring a nanny to care for their two children in their house high up on the hill. Sounds innocent enough, right? But after the nanny is hired, the tale starts to get darker.

I don’t want to give anything away, as it is still running in Vegas for another week, and I have heard hints of the musical itself traveling to stages across the country in the future. But I will spoiler myself a bit readers….I say you should see it! Of course, read on to see why.

The Good

One of the first things the viewer notices is the set, a bit old-fashioned, a bit steampunk, filled with clocks and cogs. It draws your attention and makes you wonder what the story will be. Once the actors take the stage, the next thing to stand out is the costumes and makeup. While the costumes are beautifully done, the makeup really shines. Each character seems to epitomize a certain emotion without even having to start acting! The younger son looks sad, the nanny looks mischievous, and so on, without even opening their mouths or moving a limb!

Dragon: I loved the make up too! So Bat, you’re gonna teach me how to do this kinda makeup right? Cuz yeah it’s really cool and would be great for cosplay, Halloween, ooo, and maybe D&D characters! Err scratch the last one I guess since I DM… Sorry for the tangent!

Once they do start to perform, the actors shine in their roles as well. Annette Houlihan Verdolino, the actress that plays the nanny, will make you laugh as she wickedly carries off every joke in the story, and keeps you guessing as to her character’s intentions the entire time.

Dragon: The Nanny was my favorite! From the acting to the lines, a lovable @$$hole character… Hmm, I wonder what that says about me.

Also the mom! I don’t want to give away anything but the acting throughout the growth of the character, eerily relatable and real… almost too real.

The other adults were well performed as well, but it is the child actors that caught my attention. Khloe Judd was amazing in her role as Theresa, the oldest daughter. The program says that this is her professional stage debut, but the young actress sings and then scares so well, I would have guessed she had been on the stage for years. I am not a precog, my Readers, but I would still predict great things for her career. The other two children, Alora Rivera in the role of Nathaniel and Ashlee Grubbs in the role of Clara, were also magnificent singers and actresses. And wow, can Ashlee scream! I see a role as a scream queen for her should she ever want it.

The Real Scream Queen Neve Campbell

The story was also wonderfully unpredictable, yet at the same time familiar in an eerily comforting way. This may have to do with several illusions to childhood fairy tales woven into the story. The music was well written, well placed and it both chilled and delighted at once. Of course, this coming from a person that delights in chills, but I would guess at this point some of you do too.

The Bad

Not much to say in this category, except for a couple of staging details. The audience seats extended further to either side than the set did, and the way it was put together made it difficult for the people sitting on the far edges to see essential parts of the performance. We happened to be sitting on one of those edges, and I ended up having to relay some parts of the show to the Dragon afterward to make the story more complete.

Also, the sound was a bit loud for those close to the stage. While the Dragon got a few laughs out of the speakers making me jump at the start of scenes, I don’t feel as if I should want earplugs to hear better at a stage show. That seems more like rock concert volume.


If you are a fan of scary stories, see this show! If you are a fan of musicals, especially ones like Sweeney Todd, see this show! If you like funny horror movies, see this show! And if you want to see if you like any of those things, see this show!

A well-built story, well-written and performed songs, wonderful acting, and beautiful stagecraft make this performance by the Majestic Repertory Theater a definite must-see. And you only have until the 12th to do it!

The Majestic Theater

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