The Gift of Nothing, a musical stage play base on Patrick McDonnell’s best-selling picture book debuted on November 22, 2014, at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Washington Post reporter Michael Cavna — writer of the Comics Riff beat— sat down with Patrick after the first preview of the show.

Cava says, “The show’s lyrics succeed in their high word-playfulness as well as their occasional meditative mournfulness.” Read the full review.


Comics blogger and long-time MUTTS reader Steve Loya attended the Nov. 22. debut and was thrilled by what he saw.

“What I’ve always loved about MUTTS is the subtle wisdom in both the artwork and the writing, as it is a comic strip that easily functions on both a children’s as well as on an adult level. The same can be said for the stage production of The Gift of Nothing,” Loya wrote. Read the full blog post.

*** reviewer Benjamin Tomchik was delighted by the nostalgic feeling evoked by The Gift of Nothing musical. “Think back to the golden age of childhood,” he writes, “when trips to the library always contained colorful stories filled with timeless life lessons. That wonderful ambiance has been lovingly recreated with the world premiere.”

Tomchick raves about the actors’ individual performances, as well as the appeal for kids. “The show has retained the book’s themes of friendship and giving. Andy Mitton’s music is catchy and tuneful, while his simplistic lyrics are easy for children to follow. Additionally, the production is filled with wonderful moments of audience participation that will keep the most easily-distracted young theatergoer engaged and delighted.”

Read the full review at

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