There’s a very good Lion, a very evil Witch, and a very large Wardrobe that allows four young siblings to embark on one of the greatest adventures in children’s literature. It is, of course, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe written by C.S. Lewis. And this is the musical version of that tale, here performed by Christian Youth Theater at the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon, California.

The land of Narnia unfolds before us through the eyes of the four English children who have been evacuated to Professor Kirke’s large estate in the countryside during the World War II bombing of London. Young Lucy is the first to discover the land inside the wardrobe, and nine-year-old Julia Way does a nice job expressing the thrill and wonder of discovering Narnia. Eleven-year-old Dallas Perry is the anti-Lucy, her slightly older and selfish brother Edmund who doesn’t much care for Narnia except when he gets the opportunity to gorge himself on Turkish Delight and dream of becoming the king over his siblings. Kenny Ramos as Peter and Shannon Stovall as Susan play the older siblings who struggle with the dangers of Narnia and their parental responsibilities for their younger brother and sister. The foursome act off each other well with believable playfulness, teasing, and squabbling.

In Narnia they meet a number of odd characters including a nervous faun named Tumnus (Ashley Melton), an amusing Mr. Beaver with a great cockney accent (Jason Mull), a motherly Mrs. Beaver (Sara Wright), and in this production a “Mother Christmas” with Kaley Stine radiating warmth and cheer, and giving us all the gift of her lovely voice in At Last It’s Christmas.

And then, of course, there are the two title characters around whom the fate of the story and of Narnia revolve. As the great lion Aslan, Marshall Hattersley seems a tower of strength and goodness, and his voice embodies those attributes. Opposite him and embodying strength but not-so-much goodness is Meagan Flint who plays the role of the White Witch with a quick temper, steady arrogance, and remarkable vocals whether speaking with a cold but royal air, or singing with icy beauty. The two of them team up for a gorgeous duet of Deep Magic.

Director Jamie Mayer’s production includes some nice visuals that captivated the full house of school children on the weekday morning I attended, from the sets to the costumes (including reindeer outfits from Christian Community Theater’s upcoming Traditions of Christmas) to the gentle snowfall. Though the most striking visual of all was probably the White Witch’s dramatic exit – plummeting with a shriek into a dark orchestra pit (hundreds of children stood up in unison to try to see what became of her). With all the magic, it’s no wonder the grown-up Lucy (Bethany Mullert) takes one last long, wistful look back at Narnia before leaving the lamppost in the woods.

Performed October 27 - November 4, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Aslan- Marshall Hattersley
White Witch- Meagan Flint
Peter- Kenny Ramos
Susan- Shannon Stovall
Edmund- Dallas Perry
Lucy- Julia Way
Professor Kirke- Marshall Hattersley
Mrs. Macready- Jenna Bailey
Mr. Beaver- Jason Mull
Mrs. Beaver- Sara Wright
The Dwarf- Ivana Quiceno
Fenris, the wolf- Sean Cabuchola
Tumnus & a Wolf- Ashley Melton
Mother Christmas- Kaley Stine
Narrator- Marshall Hattersley
Robin- Joanne Barber
White Stag- Chelsea Wyrick
Older Edmund- Jeffrey Mull
Older Lucy- Bethany Mullert

Fox- Holly Barnhart
Squirrel- Brandon L. Nguyen
Satyr- Patrick Gates
Owl- Jeffrey Mull
Unicorn- Luree Scott
Dog- Ashley Fishman
Eagle- Bobby Albright
Bull- Jeff Crofton
Leopard- Bethany Mullert

Chelsea Wyrick, Kenny Ramos & Meagan Flint

Joanne Barber
Melinda Ham
Jenna Bailey
Shanna Florence
Kaley Stine
Chelsea Wyrick
Rachel Preddy
Jennie Melton

Amanda Norman
Andy Walsh
Laura Preddy
David Gregory
Danielle La Point
Lauren Briggs

Bridget Fyson
Laura Preddy
Jesi Perry
Alexandra Thorson
Melinda Ham
Jenna Bailey
Shanna Florence
Chelsea Wyrick
Rachel Preddy
Courtney Cox
Kirby Tankersley
Heather Armstrong
Leslie Armstrong

Danielle La Point
Lauren Briggs
Rachel Dullum
Natalie Fulton
Shannon Prendergast
Cheyenne Gallaway
Lexie Hull
Davina Van Dusen

Heather Armstrong
Kirby Tankersly
Amanda Norman
Andy Walsh
Samantha Goff
Laura Preddy
Courtney Cox
Leif Corbeil
Kenna Branch
Alexandra Thorson
Alec Scheuffele
Jesi Perry
Jonathan Wilson
Catherine Jones
Emily Jardel
Michael Gregory

Leslie Armstrong
Chase Atherton
David Gregory
Dylan Vockrodt
Kristin Turner
Maverick Snyder
Zachery Smith
Austin Murphy
Stephen Moore
Joshua Moore
Chloe MacIntosh
Allison Lortz
Emilee Hubert
Kellie Bartlett
Sierra Rains
Austin Gallaway
Justin Bombard
Bridget Fyson

Director: Jamie Mayer
Musical Director: Justin Tinker
Choreographer: Maggie-Jo Turner
Costumer: Kristin Preddy
Lighting Design: Chris Warner
Sound Design: Larry Esau
Set Coordinator: Jim Phalan


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