Review

The Golden Butterfly
by East Valley Children's Theatre

Andrew Gattie as Art, Hailey Johnson as Caitlin and Noah Gallego as CodyEast Valley Childrenís Theatre recently staged the world premiere of its 2008 Aspiring Playwriting Contest, The Golden Butterfly by former EVCT performer Drew Ignatowski.

His play demonstrates a good mind for fantasy and youth theatre, the story set in the city of Landsian where the grandmother of young Cody and Caitlyn is dying. Caitlyn, shunned by the other children for being a nerdy storyteller, enjoys relating the tales passed down by her grandmother. Those tales include the legend of the golden butterfly, which will reveal itself to the one of purest heart and show them the secret location of the wellspring of life. And thatís exactly what the Wise Woman sends them off to find, embarking them on an adventure that will force them to learn valuable lessons, meet a slew of fanciful characters, and enter the heart of Landsianís mortal enemy Ė the throne room of Windsian.

Eighth grader Hailey Johnson gives a great performance as the thoughtful, intelligent dreamer Caitlyn. Seventh grader Noah Gallego nicely captures Cody, Caitlynís more impulsive and pragmatic sibling, but heís loyal and sensitive when it counts the most. Both siblings play the straight person to the comic capers of the curious, talkative, terribly vain, and terribly lactose intolerant cat named Friskas. Natalie Burgess steals her scenes with her catty attitude and drama queen personality for which a little flattery goes a long way, and a little milk makes you go along ways from her.

A few other standouts include Caitlynís soul mate in the sky, the Windsian teenager named Art, with Andrew Gatti as the sensitive, friendless storyteller who lives in the air. Kaleigh Prue is a boldly manipulative Lura determined to keep her power and beauty forever. Bethany Lane is a diverting transcriber who works with operatic flair, while Lady Frey (Sarah Stellpflug), the Wise Woman (Laura Iudiciani), and Shortwick (Seth Hoy) give solid, colorful performances. The ensemble includes a great chorus of four dancing (and sometimes arguing) statues, intrepid Landsian soldiers (who wear jingle bells on their uniforms, for which the Windsians are surely grateful), and the many Landsian and Windsian citizens.

These are all dressed up in Barbara Jakuckiís enchanting costumes with makeup and wild, windblown hairstyles designed by Beth Rollins. Thomas Gilsethís beautiful sets complete our journey into these other worlds that Director Karen Rolston and her cast and crew richly brought to life.

Performed February 5 - 22, 2009.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Caitlyn: Hailey Johnson
Cody: Noah Gallego
Friskas: Natalie Burgess
Art: Andrew Gatti
Lady Frey: Sarah Stellpflug
Wise Woman: Laura Iudiciani
Shortwick: Seth Hoy
Lura: Kaleigh Prue
Brash: Mike Bogle
Transcriber: Bethany Lane
Anna: Emily Mason
Sarah: Elli Howard
Gingi: Nikkolina Kamouzis
Jackie: Kiana Brown
Leo: D'Artagnan Driscoll
Nolan: Ryan Webb

Landsian Soldiers:
Cody Kibel
Sean Bogle
Jimmie Romero
Davis Mustacchio
Cody Hawley
Andrew Stewart
Stephen Despars
Quinton Redmond

Landsian Townspeople:
Ava Gallego
Lindsey Bulloch
Megan Thompson
Sidne Phillips
Kendall Arrington
Sarah Goodman
Jessica Webb

Statues:
Alexis Roberge
Sarah Kleppe
Kristen Moore
Ashley Mount

Windsians:
Emily Mason
Elli Howard
Nikkolina Kamouzis
Kiana Brown
D'Artagnan Driscoll
Ryan Webb
Ava Gallego
Lindsey Bulloch
Megan Thompson
Sidne Phillips
Kendall Arrington
Sarah Goodman
Jessica Webb

Producer/Director/Sound Design: Karen Rolston
Stage Manager: Cori Johnson
Choreography: Jennifer Duxbury
Costume Design: Barbara Jakucki
Make Up/Hair Design: Beth Rollins
Scenic Design: Thomas Gilseth
Lighting Design: Dori Brown

   

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