Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Snow White as performed by Prof.TJ Barker’s Troupe of Theatricals”

Highly Recommended****I have to applaud Emerald City for the work they do. This troupe teaches young people to appreciate “live theater” and does so without the glitz and glamour of other children’s theater productions. On the shared stage at The Apollo Theatre on Lincoln Avenue, they bring books and stories, some new , some old to the stage with a new look,but make sure the moral of the story is emphasized. A lot of this is due to the creativity of Artistic Director rnie Nolan, who takes a story and reworks it so that audience members, both young and old will appreciate live theater and at the same time learn lessons.

Everyone is familiar with Disney’s “Snow White”, but Nolan takes us on an adventure in his retelling of the story by using a traveling troupe of actors who go from twon to town to present thier play, so what we have is the Professor TJ Barker’s Troupe of Theatricals telling us the story, but what has happened? The orchestra has not made the trip to Chicago and many of the actors portraying dwarfs have keft the show, leaving only two. How they make the music happen and bring us the full comolimet of seven dwarfs is a fun sequence of events and teaches kids about “pitching in”. Learning how to get the job done by thinking things out is a special added part of the re-telling of this famous story.

The production, directed by Nolan as well is one hour of magic where a talented cast of  players bring the magic to life using puppetry( Ken Sprouls), props (D.J.Reed) and an adorable set by Shea Coffman, who keeps it simple and easy to change). The music is directed by Marta Johnson and the audience gets to participate. In fact, the audience gets very involved as the step-mother/queen gets hissed and booed and the audience yells when questions are asked. Keeping the kids involved is very important- if they feel good about their experience, they will develop a hunger for live theater.

The cast is composed of some very multi-talents young peformers, who take on all types of roles including musicians, puppeteers and of course their own roles. I applaud them all: Tosha Fowler( who is one heck of a wicked Step-Mother), Raymond Havey,Missy Karle ( who is a wonderful Snow White), Josh Nordmark,Blake Reddick,Michael Richardson,Rachel Rizzuto, Betsy Shirey and Danny Taylor as TJ Barker.

When I attend children’s theater, I always try to bring one of my grandchildren ( or a friend’s child) so I can see their reaction and get an insight to how a child feels. In this case, my granddaughter Sarah, who is just turning four was my guest and as I looked over to her from time to time, I could see that she was into the play. She knew when to applaud and she called out when she was supposed to. Her favorite part of the play was “when Snow White ( who had been poisoned by the mean Step-Mother) was asleep in the glass coffin and the Prince kissed her and she came to and then they got married”- let’s face it, we all love a happy ending and with the production by Emerald City Players, we get not only this, but a happy start. Being the creative people they are, before the shows begin, they offer some arts and crafts for the kids so they can get into the spirit. After the show, the kids get to meet some of the performers for a photo-op or to get an autograph. Emerald City also provides a special kids program that allows the kids some activities after the play ( to keep the memory of the experience) as well as a parent guide in the adult program. As I have noted, Emerald City is also an educational experience and they offer programs for your children so they can learn more about theater and possibly become artists in their future.

“Snow White” will continue at The Apollo located at 2540 N. Lincoln Avenue through May 20th, Most performances are on week-ends at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. but there are some weekdays as well- visit www.emeraldcitytheatre.com for details

Tickets are $13 for kids and $16 for adults and can be purchased by  calling  773-935-6100 or online.To become a season subscriber call 773-529-2690 ( four ticket program $43 kids/$55 adults)

 

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