A new take on an old tale

07/28/2014 10:55 PM

07/28/2014 10:56 PM

This summer’s production of “Little Red Riding Hood” at Lexington’s Village Square Theatre is anything but the predictable fairy tale you remember.

It features a cast of more than 35 characters who reside in Fairytale Land under the rule of Mother Goose. When she takes a vacation, a group of Brownies make mischief with her magic. As a result, the Big Bad Wolf turns into a car salesman, the Evil Queen is transformed into a cheerleader, the Three Bears discover a new talent for rapping, the Giant shrinks and The Little Mermaid develops a water phobia.

The script was written by Director Debra Leopard with the express purpose of giving every participant in the theater’s Junior Arts Summer Workshop a speaking role in a play. This year, there are 140 actors ranging in age from 4 to 16 years old participating in the workshop. They are divided into four casts, each performing three shows for a total of 12 performances.

“I designed the program to give young and inexperienced actors a chance to have a real theater experience,” Leopard said. “It is often hard for first-time actors to get cast in shows, and this gives them a guaranteed role with speaking lines. They go through the entire process, from auditions, through rehearsals, learning lines, character development, dress rehearsals and performances.”

This is the seventh year of the summer acting workshop and production. Leopard said it is a challenge every year to write new scripts and coordinate productions for large casts of young actors. But she hopes the actors discover a love for the theater.

“It is my goal to foster a love of performing arts in the younger generation, so we will have future participants and patrons,” Leopard said.

Remaining performances are July 29, 30, 31 and Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 2 at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Aug. 3 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 each. View cast lists and order tickets at villagesquaretheatre.com.

Bridget Winston, Special to The State

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