As we move toward the end of August, I hope you are planning to see one or more of the live performance and theatre productions that are currently running at one of the several entertainment venues that make their homes here on the amazing California Central Coast!
The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (www.pcpa.org), the Central Coast's Resident Professional Theatre Company, located on the Allan Hancock College Campus in Santa Maria, is proud to present My Fairytale, a new musical about Hans Christian Andersen with music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Wicked) August 26 through September 25 at the Solvang Festival Theater [NOTE: Saw a matinee of this show at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria before it departed for its Solvang run - and it is absolutely MAGICAL ... you will be hearing MUCH more about this show as more people see and hear about it, of this I have NO doubt!] (photo by Clinton Bersuch of Leslie McKinnell as The Ice Queen and Kevin Cahoon as Hans Christian Andersen).
The musical is an enchanted journey into the imagination of one of the world's greatest storytellers - it's a place of wonder, mystery and danger, and where Andersen is confronted by the characters from his fairytales. His quest is to find the Nightingale for the ailing Emperor, but he is continually kept from his goal, being sidetracked by the fairytale characters, a boy, and a shadow.
My Fairytale was originally produced in Denmark in 2005 in honor of the bi-centennial of Hans Christian Andersen's birth. Director Scott Schwartz points out that this first American production, beside being presented in English for the first time, includes the introduction of puppets, some script rewrites, and additional music by Stephen Scwartz, which will make My Fairytale feel more like a world premiere production.
This breathtaking production is filled with a powerful score created by Stephen Schwartz, the award-winning composer of Wicked. The book is by Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas), and it was originally created by Flemming Enevold, the famous Danish actor and singer.
Much of the accompanying music is from the original production as performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which will blend with live accompaniment by Kristin Blascyk, keyboards; Dave Becker, reeds; and Jeanne Shumway, Cello.
The cast includes Kevin Cahoon who plays H.C. Andersen. Cahoon recently wrapped up a production of The Foreigner opposite Matthew Broderick in an Off-Broadway production directed by Scott Schwartz. He's also appeared on Broadway in The Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Wedding Singer. Playing Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish opera singer of the 1800s, is Lesley McKinnell who will also wear the guise of many of Andersen's fairytale characters. McKinnell has appeared in two national tours of Wicked where she was a permanent ensemble performer and understudy to Glinda. She also performed in the Hollywood Bowl production of Les Misérables. Other cast members include Erik Stein (Captain Hook, Peter Pan), Andrew Philpot (Richard Hannay, The 39 Steps), Sam Zeller (Edna Turnblad, Hairspray), and Karin Hendricks (Jane Bennet, Pride and Prejudice).
PCPA's production of My Fairytale also features puppets designed by Emily DeCola of New York's Puppet Kitchen. Emily's puppets include larger than life ducks, chickens, mermaids, as well as a Thumbelina hand puppet and a two puppeteer operated Saucer Eyed Dog. She has produced characters for film, TV, and theatre and is an internationally sought-after speaker on puppetry. DeCola's brief residency at PCPA included two days of workshops with the actors. Their introduction to puppeteering included becoming familiar with the connection between fellow puppeteers while keeping the intention of the puppet character clear and active. As part of the process, DeCola encouraged puppeteers to select puppets with a compatible personality claiming each is unique.
Under the direction of Scott Schwartz, the artistic team includes Michael Jenkinson, Choreographer; Callum Morris, Musical Director; Tom Buderwitz, Scenic Designer; Alejo Vietti, Costume Designer; Jen 'Z' Zornow, Lighting Designer; Walter T.J. Clissen, Sound Designer; and Christine Collins, Stage Manager.