National Youth Arts - ArtsDig - Resource for youth arts

by J*Company

Abbi Hirschfeld as GriseldaBeware of suspicious dwarfs who can spin gold from straw. Such is the moral (well, one of the morals) of this Grimm fairy tale about the rascally Rumpelstiltskin who tricks a poor, young miller’s daughter into becoming a princess, and demands her first-born child in return for the service.

This musical adaptation, with most of the songs written by local actors Arne Christiansen and Ole Kittleson (book by Vera Morris), is being put on by J*Company in La Jolla. Joey Landwehr, J*Company’s new artistic director, makes his directorial debut at the theatre with this show – a show that features an old story with new wrinkles and added characters. And the director demonstrates a great feel for the tale’s potential, expertly using beautiful backdrops that can be ominous or serene (depending on the lighting and sound effects) and an enthusiastic cast of actors age thirteen and under.

Ten-year-old Hannah Prater clearly delights in the title role, infusing the mischievous dwarf with enormous personality and stage presence as he greedily weaves his web, desiring nothing less than control over the mortal world.

Those mortals include Danielle Gardener as the sweet Laura, the miller’s daughter who falls for a prince and then gets handed a chance to marry him thanks to the “helpful” Rumpelstiltskin. Daniel Myers is the young, flirty, charming prince who is eager to marry Laura regardless of the gold, and who just hopes momma doesn’t cut off Laura’s head should she fail to produce the magical gold.

That ruthlessly pragmatic momma, Queen Prima Donna, is played by the hilarious Ashley Twomey who uses her voice, comedic skills, and regal countenance to tremendous effect. The other great comedian in the show is the mysterious witch in the wood Griselda who stirs up the pot by encouraging Rumpelstiltskin on his quest. Abbi Hirschfeld uses her posture and hysterical vocalizations (she sounds like Carol Kane) to make the witch an unforgettable character.

Surrounding them all are a bunch of townsfolk, castle staff (that includes an amusing rabbi (Joshua Shtein) and a couple of lively, limber fools played by Julia Karis and Gemini Anderson), and a huge number of enchanting Kreatures who inhabit a magical forest that scares but intrigues the villagers who are unaware that their fate may be in the hands of that forest’s inhabitants.

Performed May 12-21, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Charlotte: Amber Plati
Katherine: Ali Viterbi
Errol, The Huntsman: Sam Jacobs
Rumpelstiltskin: Hannah Prater
Griselda: Abbi Hirschfeld
Joanna, The Miller's Widow: Jess Jacobs
Laura: Danielle Gardner
Prince Tom: Daniel Myers
Abigail, The Apple Seller: Michelle Guefen
Prime Minister Vainglorious: Jonathan Edzant
Harlequin: Julia Karis
Pantaloon: Gemini Anderson
Lady Matilda #1: Danielle Smotrich
Lady Matilda #2: Madeleine Maio
Lady Matilda #3: Danielle Levin
Queen Prima Donna: Ashley Twomey
Clara, The Customer: Mikayla Stern-Ellis
Nursemaid Duenna: Kelly Rubin
Rabbi Sappershtein: Joshua Shtein
Sentry: Mara Jacobs

Royal Trumpeters/Guards:
Cara Potiker
Danielle Potiker
Nir Solomon
Tomer Solomon

Keepers of the Kreatures:
Danya Greenberg
Talia Maio

Kreatures of the Forest:
Erica Ashkenasi
Alison Carey
Cameron Chang
Annie Charlat
Rachel Friedman
Gaby Greenwald
Halle Hoffman
Mari Hoffman
Lily Katzeff
Austin Kindig
Geneva Kotler
Emma Moore
Lindsey Morrison
Rebecca Penner
Zia Rady
Madison Simpson
Gabrielle Smotrich

Citizens of the Kingdom:
Talia Berkstein
Erica Byrne
Ethan Cohen
Kyle Cottrell
Sara Frank
Elisa Greenberg
Ryan Hastings-Echo
Hannah Houts
Margaret Izotov
Daniel Krasner
Portia Krichman
Cassidy McCombs
Megan Phillips
Samantha Pollak
Adam Recht
Celia Tedde
Nathan Wetter

Members of the Royal Court:
Mallory Contreras
Kailey Fudge
Maddie Houts
Sierra Kindig
Kimberly Marron
Rebecca Myers
Lindsay Sabul
Jessica Tierney
Kira Tirschfield
Loren Vevaina

Director: Joey Landwehr
Musical Director: Marc Carignan
Set Design: Amanda Stephens
Lighting Design: Mia Bane
Costume Design: Cynthia Kinnard
Sound Design & Operation: Scott Westrick


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