Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Sleeping Beauty”

Children’s theater is a very important part of our cultural growth. By having live theater that children can experience, we give them the thirst and hunger for more of the same, and once they grow up with live theater, they will continue to expand their minds and hearts with more into adulthood. Our regional theaters play a big part in getting the job done. Last week, Chicago Shakespeare is where we experience a lovely version of “Beauty and the Beast”. Today, my grand daughter Sarah and I experience the new version of “Sleeping Beauty” at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre- a super experience for me as well as her. Sarah, being four has not read “Sleeping Beauty” in any version or has she seen the animated film, so her mind was fresh and open for Marc Robin’s  60 minute telling of the story.

“Sleeping Beauty” as most fairy tales and fables are, has a moral that is very important for kids to learn early. This story is about revenge and change and Sarah got it. Magenta places a wicked curse on Amber at her birth. She will die at the age of sixteen by touching a spinning wheel and die. Magenta does this for revenge as in the kingdom of Colors, Amber’s grandfaher had made Magenta/purple a color that was not legal and banned Magenta from the kingdom. Magenta, instead of trying to get the new king, Amber’s father to change the law, chose revenge, but as in all of these tales, they all live happily ever after.

Written by Marc Robin, back in the day, this particular story is very old fashioned and in comparison to the musicals today rather slow. Directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery with a small but powerful cast, we must remember that this is for the kids and based on their reaction, this would have to be a recommended show. In fact, Sarah thought this was better because the dragon was not as scary as the beast. One of the problems with doing the theater for young audience program at Marriott is that they also have a main stage production, and sharing the same stage is a slight handicap. Raftery works around the few levels and door ways and a sign post and uses some cleverness to produce the mountains and water that  Prince Hunter ( Alex Goodrich, who shows once again how versatile and actor he is- funny, clownish and sincerity all rolled up into one package) has to overcome to marry the Princess and save her life.

The Griim Brothers Fairy Tale on which this is based is far scarier and far less colorful ( the costumes by Nancy Missimi are terrific) and the music ( Ryan Nelson, musical director) gives the kids something to learn from. Kids seem to absorb lyrics better than prose, so add the music, you get your message out to them. Part of what makes these shows work is the talented performers who not only make their characters believable, but remain after the curtain ( there is no curtain at Marriott, but this is the term used for ending a play) and talk to the kids; telling them about some of the behind the scenes parts that make a production whole and answering their questions. This cast is filled with talent. Besides the very funny Goodrich, we have Michael Aaron Linder as The King, Jameson Cooper as Topaz, the elf, the dynamic Cathy Lord as the evil Magenta, the adorable Summer Smart as Princess Amber and as the trio of fairies who protect and serve Princess Amber,Anne Gunn ( Marigold), Lara Filips as Periwinkle and Dara Cameron ( the wisest of the wise,Ruby). A stronger cast you will not find on any stage.

“Sleeping Beauty” will continue at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire through August 18th with performances as follows:

Wednesday,Thursday,Friday and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Tickets are  available at the box office located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire ( just off Milwaukee Avenue, south of Half Day Rd ( rte 22). by phone at 847634-5909 or online at www.MarriottTheatre,com  a mere $15

to see more about “Sleeping Beauty”, visit www.theatreinchicago.com– go to review round-up and click on Sleeping Beauty


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