Entertainment, Reviews

Children Give Delightful Performance of Reimagined Fairy Tale

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
A cast of 24 children from kindergarten to sixth grade in the Mountain View Union Elementary School District presented “Boots- The Musical” at the Highland Center for the Arts on April 20. Cast members in the finale standing in the back are (left to right) Oscar Razionale, Amelia Rodriguez, Harvest Barsalow, Adele Barsalow (as Boots), Abby Williams, Ali Chernovetz and Alivia Hall as the rest of the cast watch. At left in front is Oscar McLean. Students from Lakeview, Hardwick, Woodbury Schools and home schoolers were included in the after-school enrichment program directed by Rosann Hickey.

GREENSBORO – Saturday afternoon, April 22, 24 children from the Mountain View School District gave a delightful performance of “Boots- the Musical,” at the Highland Center for the Arts.

Students from Greensboro, Hardwick and Woodbury schools, with several home-schoolers, presented the traditional “Puss in Boots” fairy tale as re-imagined by local actor and director, Rosann Hickey.

The classic story begins in the village of Sabarac where the late miller’s estate is divided unevenly among his three children: the mill to the eldest, Jesse; the donkey to the second child, Jodie; but only a cat and a pair of boots to the youngest child, Jack.

Jack and the cat, Boots, subsequently take an adventurous journey where it develops that the cat can talk and is a brilliant trickster figure, resulting in Jack defeating a horrible ogre and marrying a beautiful princess.

Abby Williams and Amelia Rodrigues were convincing as Jesse and Jodie, and Oscar Razionale was well cast as the youngest child and hero of the plot, Jack. Adele Barsalow had remarkable natural acting talent and a great stage presence as Boots, the cat.

Fox Modry did a fine presentation of the lawyer reading the will assisted by his helpful clerk, Reia Lemery.

The assembled villagers presenting the introductory song, “The News from Sabarac,” included Solace Cohen, Ali Chernovetz, Eleanor Hammond, Alivia Hall, Tobin Purdy, Willa Nunnery, Scarlet Chernovetz, Reece Reynolds, Silene LaPoint, Nevina Felix, Tapanga Rich, Sophia Rich, Jasper  Swank, Fern Hammond, Enid Hammond, Otto McLean and Fritz Nottermann.

After the disclosures of the inheritance, Jack and Boots sang “Just An Ordinary Cat,”with a nice interchange of the amusing lyrics.

On their travels, Jack and Boots meet a King and his daughter, Princess Honey, ably acted by Harvest Barsalow and Amelia Rodriguez. Boots learns from the King’s cooks, Ali Chernovetz, Eleanor Hammond, Tapanga Rich and Abby Williams, that the King is on a new diet of all wild foods as they beautifully sing “The Cooks’ Lament,” about the difficulty of supplying his demands. Boots offers help on Jack’s behalf, renaming him “the Marquis of Carabas” and winning everyone’s gratitude.

When the pair enter the Ogre’s country, they hear many complaints about how horrible he is from his subjects in “The Ogre’s Song.”

Boots continues to the Ogre’s chateaux where he is admitted by the Ogre’s houskeeper, Alivia Hall. Harvest Barsalow wearing an ugly mask and using a gruffly aggressive voice gave a great portrayal of the hideous villain.

He first transforms himself into a lion (Ali Chernovetz) who chases Boots all around the audience. But when the wily cat convinces him to turn himself into something really small, a mouse, Boots finishes him off for good. Boots then offers to take over all the Ogre’s properties and keep all his workers employed by his master, the Marquis of Carabas.

Just then the King and Princess arrive and, while taking a turn in the garden, Amelia Rodriguez sings “I Like Him” with her particularly beautiful voice. Soon the talk turns to marriage and the whole company comes together to sing “The Happy Ending.”

The production received invaluable support from Karen Miller, musical arranger, musical director and accompanist.

Behind the scenes, Ana LaPoint, Martha Hammond, Kelly Papke, Lindsey Scott, Annie Mclean, Julia Swank, Amanda Williams, Vince Razionale, Ed Lemery, Ted Fullard, Jayne Donahue, Jay Modry and others worked on costumes, props, scenery and backstage logistics. The entire staff of the Highland Center for the Arts were hugely helpful and gracious hosts.

Rosann Hickey has spent many years working in the theater as an actor, director and playwright. This musical, “Boots,” has excellent momentum in the script and story line, clever lyrics to the songs and characters very appropriate for young actors.

“Boots” was a wonderful opportunity for children to discover the fun and challenges of live theater. We hope there will be similar productions of this kind in the future!

David K. Rodgers

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