In the tradition of Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning 'Into The Woods' or more modern fare like 'Wicked', TV's 'Once Upon a Time' and this summer big-screen 'Maleficent', Street Theatre Company's executive artistic director Cathy Street and co-writer Elaina Shaver have created a new take on an old favorite with 'Behind the Mirror: A Tale of Snow White and Rose Red'. Street, who also wrote the music for the show, brings a uniqueness to her fairy tale redo by casting the entire show with youngsters, as Street Theatre's youth troupe, Class Act culminates their summer program with this production. That's right, a fresh look at a fairy tale presented by fresh faces. To Street & Shaver's credit, and that of the show's director Deanna Glasser and musical director Erica Lee Haines,they're also presenting the faces of the future of musical theatre in Nashville.
First made popular as a Grimm Brothers fairy tale, the original story of Snow White and Rose Red was completely different from that of Snow White of Disney's now-classic animated tale. Street and her co-writer Elaina Shaver have taken elements of both Snow White tales and blended them together, adding elements of other such favorite fairy tales as Sleeping Beauty, to create a truly unique retelling.
Street & Shaver's tale of two sisters born to the beautiful Queen Briar Rose (Cameron Sheppard) begins as the Queen is about to marry Malthorn (Andrew Palmer), who had been the Queen's late husband's confidant. At his father's side for the nuptials is Malthorn's kind son Benevol (Ezra Solano). As the Town Crier (Carrington Pitts) and the rest of the townspeople ready for a wedding via the show's first musical number 'Glorious Day for a Wedding', young Rose Red (Laura Carpenter) exhibits uneasiness about the pending union.
When the wedding concludes, young Snow White (Zakyra McKinney) and Rose Red vow to always look out for each other in the sentimental and touching 'My Other Half'. These two young ladies, along with Sheppard and Pitts prove themselves to be some of the best vocalist in the show. I'm confident Nashville audiences will be seeing much more of all four of them.
As the story continues, Malthorn's true plan is revealed. Come on, with a name like Malthorn, he's destined to be the bad guy. Palmer plays the villain with just enough cheekiness that he reinforces the fact that sometimes it's good to be bad.
Throughout the show, hints as to what will occur come in the form of the magic mirror. Kudos to Theresa Odeor for literally bringing the mirror cleverly to life courtesy of gold and silver costumes worn by the Mirror (Sarah Hanson, Riya Jain and Rachael Wooley). The recitations by these young ladies was truly spell-binding. If I could have pianist Randy Craft follow me around and play the enchanted music that accompanies the Mirror's premonitions, my life would be simply magical.
Mixing both familiar Snow White stories comes to full bloom with the introduction of The Seven Dwarves during a sing-songy hide-and-seek number 'Ring-A-Levio'. Street and Shaver perfectly perfectly capture the fun of the dwarves with this scene. For 'Behind the Mirror', the dwarves are perfectly played by Hannah Buttrey as Bashful, Presley Gibbs as Happy, Reagan Gibbs as Dopey, Neve Glasser as Sneezy, Abbie Love as Sleepy, Reyna Sands as Grumpy and Edward Owens, Jr. as Doc. Each of these kids is a delight to watch. My grand-nieces Mia and Micah easily pointed out which of the dwarves these talented, funny kids was playing even before the obligatory role call: a testament to sinking your teeth into your role.
What's a fairy tale without woodland creatures. To that end, Charlie Conrad, Lyris Conrad, Sami Germain, Isabella Hunze & Iris Loewl flitter about from time to time as magical fairies.
As the play reaches it's mid-point, the plot thickens when a tragedy befalls the kingdom. A clever passage of time also occurs midway through as Snow White and Rose Red grow into beautiful young women. It is at this point that Paige Glasser and Jordan Mackey take on the roles of the sisters as Snow White and Rose Red respectively. The passage of time also sees Carson Wood step into the role of Benvol. Glasser has the look of a young Ann Hathaway circa The Princess Diaries, while Mackey raven hair makes her the perfect classic Princess with just a bit of vim and vigor to outsmart the bad guys. As for Wood, he's perfectly charming as our young hero. His violin serenade is a pleasantly unexpected highlight of the second act.
More plot twists and turns reveal themselves, including a familial detail linking our villain to the aforementioned Maleficent, a new take on the enchanted apple, a blossoming romance and an unwanted wedding. Like all great fairy tales, fear not, good wins out in the end, and thanks to Street and Shaver's creativity, it's an enchanting evening from start to finish.
'Behind the Mirror: A Tale of Snow White and Rose Red' continues with matinee performances Saturdays at 2 p.m. and evening performances Fridays and Saturdays thru Saturday, July 26 at Street Theatre Company (1933 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37210. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets or for more information.
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