top of page

Blue Moon Theater’s Spin on Charlotte’s Web

by April Johnson

June 8th, 2024. It was a mild early summer Saturday afternoon when I visited the quaint and welcoming Blue Moon Theater, tucked away in Woodstown, NJ, to see the production “Charlotte’s Web” based on the beloved tale written by E.B. White and adapted by Joseph Robinette.  The auditorium floor was laced with fallen leaves indicating autumn.  The stage was pensively set as a farmhouse-styled writing room, laced with cobwebs, a large steer, and netting; along with White’s works such as the titular book,  Element of Style, Stuart Little and The New Yorker and inspiration, The Walden by H.D. Thoreau intentionally strewn throughout the platform.  And there is a surprise for you around the corner but I’m not going to tell you. 

The Children's Literature Association named this "the best American children's book of the past two hundred years," and Joseph Robinette, working with the advice of E.B. White, has created a play that captures this work in a thrilling and utterly practical theatrical presentation. The costumes and unit set may be simple or as colorful and elaborate as you wish; it's the story and relationships that make the show. All the enchanting characters are here: Wilbur, the irresistible young pig who desperately wants to avoid the butcher; Fern, a girl who understands what animals say to each other; Templeton, the gluttonous rat who can occasionally be talked into a good deed; the Zuckerman family; the Arables; and, most of all, the extraordinary spider, Charlotte, who proves to be “a true friend and a good writer.” Determined to save Wilbur, Charlotte begins her campaign with the "miracle" of her web in which she writes, "Some pig." It's the beginning of a victorious campaign which ultimately ends with the now-safe Wilbur doing what is most important to Charlotte. (Dramatic Publishing)

During our conversation, director Jim Cook revealed that his multifaceted vision. For instance, his goal was to reach an intergenerational audience; those to remember or embrace childhood and the fond (along with the not so fond) memories it indelibly entails. In addition, he thoughtfully took on the vision of interweaving possible reality and White’s scripting process by way of imagination.  Though E.B. White’s life was very private, and never mentioned his source of inspiration, Cook took an intelligent “what if” approach on how the characters came to life; especially by illustrating White’s interaction with them along his writing journey. The concept was spun together, and it was terrific (wink). 

Alair Diremigio portrayed two characters, E.B. White as the story’s write/narrator along with Lurvy, White’s scripted field hand; with seamless and distinct dexterity.  Sam Williams delivered the role of the loveable Wilbur with sensitivity and a warmhearted appeal.  Hannah Lee DeFrates captivatingly rendered the role of Charlotte. Cadence 'Cadey' Laning conveyed the tender-hearted Fern Arable with doting innocence and a hint of maturity.  Ariel Johnson warmly presented Martha Arable as the sensible and caring mother of Fern. Joseph DiBella was a humorous delight as Avery Arable, Fern’s brother. Jon Laning and Lori Thompson gave us the stern and down to earth couple Homer and Edith Zuckerman. Director/actor Jim Cook, Jr. depicted John Arable, Fern’s homespun father. Brady Thompson was commanding and impressive as the snarky and dark humored Templeton. Donna Laning and Charlie Lai performed as Goose and Gander, the flippant yet funny fowl who give triple emphasis on words of importance. Crit Olmos played the wise and cantankerous Sheep. Sophia Shipman played the innocent and affable Lamb. Gabriel Vereen took on three supporting yet varied roles as Announcer, Uncle, and Reporter.

Director Jim Cook Jr. and stage manager Maria Cook were also in charge of props and scenic design. Costume design is by Masquerade Ball, lighting design is by Jolee Farah, and sound design is by Mike Russell.

At a young age, I was an avid reader of Charlotte’s Web, and a frequent watcher of the movie. Now I am a fan of this production.  It took me down memory lane of the great times of childhood and how endearing this story was.  If you ever read this book, you will enjoy this warmhearted live production whether as a child or an adult trekking down memory lane. 

Charlotte’s Web convenes on Friday, June 14 and closes Sunday afternoon, June 16th.  Tickets are available at


Latest Posts
bottom of page