Friday December 15th 2017

“Sleeping Beauty” with added looks by Lily Kienzle and Claire Casey

When it comes to theater  “for young audiences” , Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire surely hits the nail every time. They have an eye for stories that will hold the attention of every youngster as well as the grandparents who accompany them on a Saturday or Sunday morning (they do weekdays as well, but for the most part, these are school groups). Today, I went to their opening of Marc Robin’s version of “Sleeping Beauty”, filled with music and a story that is more than just the fairy tale that we are used to.
“Sleeping Beauty” is based on the Brothers Grimm’s tale filled with unconventional personalities, broken rules, fairy godmothers or are they just fairies?, that offer their love and devotion to the princess that has been born in their kingdom of “Colorland”. Directed by  Scott Weinstein, who knows the limitations that the in-the-round stage has, and creates a wonderful theatrical experience for boys and girls who attend.
In the kingdom, as it turns out, there was a proclamation relative to the color magenta. This color was not allowed to live in the kingdom of “Colorland”. The fairy Magenta, who in reality might appear to be a “witch”  played to perfection by Meghan Murphy ( some of you might remember her from Marriott’s recent “Mama Mia”, and I just reviewed her in “Woman of the Year” at Porchlight). She is “wicked” but very good at being so! She puts a spell on the new princess, Amber, stating that when she is 16, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel, fall into a fast sleep and within 24 hours die. Her only way to survive- a prince must declare his love and his kiss will break the spell.
It is up to the other fairies, Sharriese Hamilton as Marigold, Danni Smith as Ruby and the comical Cassie Slater as Periwinkle.( Smith and Slater were the other two stars of “Mama Mia”- this trio of fab ladies are terrific together ,and on their own) to keep the Princess Amber (the sparkling and bubbly Elizabeth Telford) away from a spinning wheel. The King is played by Steven Stafford and the bumbling Prince, Hunter by Garrett Lutz (he does turn it all around as the play progresses). Carlos Angulo portrays Topaz, a kind of aide to the King and the one who watches over the characters in the show.
The musical numbers are terrific and the excitement increases even more as the audience is asked to participate in the adventures that are taken by our Hero, Hunter as he seeks to get past the Dragon ( a neat bit of puppetry). One of the highlights of these productions is that the kids learn to love “live theater”, and once they see the wonder and awe, they will want more. That is what Marriott believes and this follows the concept that Dr. Bella Itkin started at The Goodman Theater back in the 1960’s. Teach them when they are young and you will earn their trust and adoration. I truly agree and thank Marriott for bringing us these powerful shows. Oh, yes! They also deliver a strong message. Magenta was seeking revenge for being asked to leave and being segregated from the other colors. King Lapis, in order to assure his daughter’s future lifts the ban and says that “all colors are created equal and should live in peace and harmony”! Not a bad concept, hey?
Ryan T. Neslon and the band hit the notes that make the musical numbers powerful and the set by Lauren Nigri, who also designed the props is workable. Remember, this stage is small and they have another production sharing it (“Newsies”) so they are limited as to what they can do. Nick Belley does the lights and the sound is handled by Robert Gilmartin. This is a top-notch production and anyone who knows the work of Marc Robin knows that if he had a hand in it, it is worth seeing. That is for sure!
“Sleeping Beauty” will continue at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, located at Ten Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire through  December 30th with performances as follows:
General Public
Saturdays  10 a.m.
Sundays  10 a.m.
There are some 12:30 p.m. dates and of course on weekdays (for groups and schools, but if available to the public) at 10 a.m. as well
To purchase tickets ($17.23 per person) call 847-634-0200 or visit http://www,MarriottTheatre.com
Group discounts are available.
Plenty of free parking and if you come early, take a look at the new lobby, dining spots and spa as well as the lobby Starbucks. Great place, great shows.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Sleeping Beauty”
The two girls who attended today and agreed to add their views are both 9 years old and students at Everett Elementary School in Lake Forest.
Claire Casey’s review:
I loved the ending when Magenta, the evil fairy, became friends with the other fairies and saved the princess. But Magenta should have been named Malificent!”
“I thought the play was 10 stars!”
Lily Kienzle’s review:
“I especially loved the dragon, it was truly whimsical.”
“The characters were fantastic!”
“The costumes were absolutely magical!”
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