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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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Snow White is a fairytale well known around the world thanks largely to the classic 1937 Disney film. Before that cinematic achievement, however, Snow White was a popular fable made famous as one in a collection of stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm. In the original German, the title is Scheewittchen und die Sieben Zerge. English translation: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

That tallish tale of a vain queen who requires regular confirmation from her royal, loyal mirror that she is “the most beautiful of all” and becomes jealous when the reflective accessory confesses that the Queen’s sixteen year-old daughter, Snow White, is now the top-draw gorgeous one in the kingdom is now being staged by Theatre West’s Storybook Theatre,  in Hollywood. This contemporized, musicalized delight of a show is especially geared toward children, ages three to nine, but the biggest laughs often come from the appreciative adults in the audience.

Resourcefully directed by Barbara Mallory Schwartz and Lloyd J. Schwartz, Scott Martin’s adaptation of the Snow White parable is nicely and naturally combined with a pleasing score by Richard Berent and cheery, cheeky lyrics by Rob Meurer (I’m So Beautiful is, of course, the Queen’s catchy but immodest anthem). Though Martin, Berent, and Meurer have laid a firm ground plan for this musical staging of Snow White, it is the indefatigable cast of four that invigorates and exhilarates this most interactive of live entertainments.

Susan Morgenstern brings Carol Burnett to mind in her witty portrayal of the Queen. Leaving a memorable vocal calling card and with a face most flexible, Morgenstern is a theatrical gem. Catlin Gallogly imbues her performance as Snow White with wholesomeness and can-do femininity. Gallogly also adds a loveable layer of mental density to her characterization of Snow White that is surprisingly endearing.

Unlike the 1912 Broadway play, also titled Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, wherein all seven dwarfs are given names (for the first time in the story’s long history), this version of “Snow White” has only a single dwarf onstage — unless you include the various children who are called onstage many times throughout the hour and fifteen minute presentation (with one ten minute break) to play the many “extra” roles this participatory production calls for. That dwarf has a nondescript name, Fred. But, there’s nothing nondescript about Anthony Gruppuso, whose performance brings Fred to life in a dance-intense incarnation of this singularly sizeable dwarf.

Paul Dennison is a multifaceted performer doing double duty as the Queen’s magical mirror and the Handsome Prince. Dennison’s rendition of I Need a Wife is made hilarious by the actor’s subtle innuendo and obvious obtuseness.

Together this quartet of actors is easily among the hardest working ensembles in show business. Kudos to their well crafted characterizations. Moreover, this Snow White sets a high standard in the annals of Children's Theater, but people of all ages will surely enjoy it.

Storybook Theatre’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs continues at Theater West – 3333 Cahuenga Boulevard, Hollywood (near Universal City) – through February 25. Show times are at 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The production is also available for birthday party bookings and school fieldtrips. For reservations and further information dial (818) 761-2203, or visit HYPERLINK "http://www.theatrewest.org" www.theatrewest.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.