While the summer sun beats down outside this weekend, the Paramount stage will be replete with winter wind workers, blizzard bringers, icicle sharpeners, and snow smoothers – all local children cast in the Missoula Children Theatre’s modern adaptation of The Princess and the Pea.
From kings, queens and phony princesses to flower gardeners and dust bunnies, kids from across the Charlottesville area have rehearsed for a week with MCT’s professional director-in-residence Jennifer Hanna to produce this fresh spin on the classic fairytale. Far from the traditional tale of mattresses, in this production, peaceful leprechauns seek to bring together the prince of the snow kingdom and the princess of a realm of rolling green hills.
The Princess and the Pea is the first of two shows MCT will produce with local children this summer. After the performances on June 22, a new cast will begin rehearsing the musical adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. Over 60 locals will work quickly, memorizing their 50-page script in one day. At the end of the week, the young actors will play a host of characters including the iconic giant, farmers, merchants, circus performers and the magic beans themselves as Jack learns a lesson about true happiness.
MCT has staged annual shows with The Paramount Theater for five years. The Montana-based international touring project is devoted to developing social skills and self-esteem through the performing arts. In addition to the two plays in Charlottesville, Hanna directed three theater workshops for the Boys & Girls Club during her residency. She particularly loves the “idea that you can go out and just touch so many lives in one week. You can really tell when you’re getting through to some of them,” she said.
Hanna’s stars-in-training will perform The Princess and the Pea at 2pm and 5pm Saturday, June 22. Jack and the Beanstalk will be staged at 2pm and 5pm Saturday, June 29. Tickets for both shows are available online and at the box office for $10. ~Danielle Bricker