Northbrook Park District teaches lessons with Snow White
Justine Klein, the living dwarf who energizes six puppet dwarves, and Leah Darany, who plays Snow White, perform together during a rehearsal of the play by the same name that will debut Jan. 19 at the Northbrook Musical Theatre for Young Audiences. |
Tickets are available at the Leisure Center Box Office, online at northbrooktheatre.org, and by phone at (847) 291-2367 for the 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. shows. They are $8 in advance and $10 online or at the door.
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:35AM
NORTHBROOK — A production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which actually goes back to the word-of-mouth version passed down over the years, tells the tale that Walt Disney didn’t – how the magic mirror came to be.
Northbrook Park District Performing Arts Manager Gregg Dennhardt has put his own creative stamp onto the production, which will include songs, dances, humor and puppetry to capture the whimsy of the fairy tale.
The enchanting tale of a beautiful princess victimized by her jealous stepmother, will be presented Saturdays, Jan. 19 through Feb. 23, at the Northbrook Musical Theatre for Young Audiences, 3323 Walters Ave.
Dennhardt wrote the play, adapted from Grimm’s Fairy Tale, and Music Director Lori R. Norton created the music.
“Our Snow White is a traditional retelling of the fairy tale, faithful to the original Grimm production. There are eight professional actors in the show and some puppetry in the form of dwarves,” Dennhardt said.
“The show also features the magic mirror, the transformation of the wicked queen into an old crone, the magical apple that Snow White eats and the prince who kisses her and breaks the spell.”
When looking at the history of the mirror, the story looks at a princess who was the sister of Snow White’s prince. She was rude to an old crone, who later became Snow White’s stepmother, Dennhardt said.
Because of her rudeness, the princess was transformed into the magic mirror so she could see how people should act, he added. And the mirror not only knew all and saw all, but also always had to tell the truth.
“Fairy tales are parables that were used in the middle ages to tell children how they were to behave. For example, the dwarves told Snow White never to let a stranger in, and when she did, bad things happened,” Dennhardt said.
“Fairy tales are almost biblical in the way they present lessons, like ‘don’t lie, ‘don’t steal’ and ‘always listen to your parents.’ Because they’re teaching tools, they have remained popular over the years.”
This professional production focuses on lessons about friendship, teamwork and inner beauty.
However, Dennhardt also added a little magic of his own when he decided to use puppets for six of the seven dwarves.
“The puppetry is not only an interesting idea, but it also has a financial reason behind it. If we have seven dwarves, we must have seven actors. This way we have six puppets and one actor,” Dennhardt said.
“The puppets, which are about 25-inch tall, are attached to a live dwarf, an actress, who is not very tall herself.”
Norton wrote a series of songs to bewitch the audience – “It’s Only a Dream,” “My handsome Prince,” “A Silly Song,” “Things are never as Bad as They Seem,” “Hidey Ho,” and The Dusting Song.”
“Gregg and I sat down and talked about the nature of the songs to be written. He gave me the ‘feel’ he wanted for each. Then I wrote what I thought would be as appealing to kids as to adults,” Norton said.
The play runs for about an hour long and was designed for family audiences and children in preschool through grade school. And after every show, the audience can meet the cast.
An Illinois Arts Council grant provided partial funding for the musical.