Getting to "Sleeping Beauty" was a bit like going through a magical maze: traipsing down winding passageways across dark, uneven ground, lit only by the swinging lanterns (OK, flashlights) of the student guides. The reason for the maze was a construction project in the back parking lot, necessitating a short trek across the Baldwin High School campus.
Once inside the cozy Loudon Mini-Theatre, the creativity of the students took center stage. Painted sets of castle walls created the feel of an enchanted kingdom, and even the concession stand was bedecked with sparkly forest leaves.
As with all Baldwin productions, "Sleeping Beauty" was student-produced, -designed and -performed. There was a difference this year, however: a lot of fresh faces. In fact, over half the cast of 38 students were new to the Baldwin stage.
KERRIE LASATER photo
Meg Lasater played Sleeping Beauty opening weekend and Dylan Bode is the noble prince in this charming production.
Director Linda Carnevale chose the fairy-tale format as a good way to start them off, keeping things light and bright. Based on the Disney movie, the musical featured colorful costumes that echoed the animated characters.
On opening weekend, Meg Lasater played Briar Rose, the sweet princess who was cursed at birth by a wicked sorceress. Anuhea Sebstad was a convincing Maleficent in flowing black-and-purple robes. Dylan Bode played the noble Prince Phillip, along with King Stefan (Jonathan Sifton), Queen Stefanie (Erika Magalhaes) and King Hubert (Tyler Peterson). This weekend, Anna Ivanova will take on the role of Princess Aurora.
The three good fairies - Merryweather (Kendra Carter), Fauna (Celine Hoppe) and Flora (Serena Perry) - did their best to lift the spell from the princess. Dressed in cheerful green, pink and blue with voluminous petticoats, they fluttered and sang in harmony with a charming Fairy Chorus.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for age 17 and under; available at the door.
The actors made the most of the small space, running in from both sides of the audience and even scuffling in a back corner during the battle scene. A "stone" turret set along a sidewall was designated as Maleficent's Lair.
The elaborate costumes of the forest animals were created by students, moms and a grandma. Watching the big furry creatures - the Owl (Julianna Scharnhorst), Rabbit (Joy Baloaloa), Squirrel (Brina Elizaga), Green Finch (Chloe Madriaga) and Raccoon (Amanda Galvao)-waltz with Briar Rose to "I Know You," you might feel like you're inside a Disney theme park!
Although there was a slightly murky quality to the sound, the songs were familiar and fun. One of the best numbers was "A Little Magic Now," as the fairies brandished their wands to make the cottage sparkle for Briar Rose's 16th birthday.
The Goons (Chris Komatsu, Jesie Rocetes, Kenny Komatsu, Spencer Powell and Alia Dela Cruz) were none too pretty in their ragged outfits, but they drew some laughs with their gibbering and groveling to Maleficent.
Kirsten Otterson provided musical direction, and students Perry, Carter and the Goons choreographed the dances.
"Sleeping Beauty" was short and sweet, which is just the way kids like it. It should be enjoyable for all ages, although little ones might find the battle scene (with fog machines) a bit scary. And you might want to bring a flashlight for the trek back to your car.