Dani Girl at Randolph Road Theatre Saturday, August 2

Childhood cancer is not the stuff of uplifting theatre, but composer Michael Kooman and lyricist Christopher Dimond’s musical take on one girl’s fight with leukemia is damn uplifting, they swear. It revolves around Dani, a 9-year-old cancer patient who loses her hair and embarks on a magical journey to get it back. She brings her imaginary friend, Raph, and a fellow patient, Marty, on the journey, and they sing loudly about how they’re “so appalled by being bald.” Don’t shrug it off as being juvenile, even if the lyrics are a bit simplistic; Unexpected Stage Company has thankfully cast adults in the roles of Dani and Raph, so there will be no precocious, nasal tween taking over the stage. As for the show’s focus on a rather grim, life-threatening illness, remember that Rent made people of all ages sing and dance about AIDS, so a musical about cancer might not be so sad after all. The show runs July 17 to Aug. 10 at Randolph Road Theatre, 4010 Randolph Road, Silver Spring. $10–$23. (301) 337-8290. unexpectedstage.org.

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