Will Cinderella forgive her two ugly stepsisters? Can Snow White and the Evil Queen reconcile?
Find out the answer to these questions and many more during one of three performances of “The Ever After.”
The comedy will be performed by the new Jackson County Young Artists’ Theatre at Royal-Off-the-Square Theatre in Brownstown.
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Coordinated by the Jackson County Community Theatre, the performances by a group of local children are set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 and 30 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 31. Tickets are $8 and available online at brownpapertickets.com/event/2476130.
John Rohlfing, who is directing the show with his wife, Julie Rohlfing, said the comedy is about something pretty simple.
“It’s just so much fun,” he said.
More than 50 children between the ages of 6 and 18 auditioned for a variety of roles, all fairy tale characters. A total of 37 earned roles in the play.
“It’s one of the largest groups we’ve done on stage at the same time, and it’s the first winter youth production,” Julie Rohlfing said.
Julie Rohlfing said she and her husband specifically looked for plays that were fun but included a large number of roles so they could involve more students. Even more importantly, they wanted a play that let many actors share the spotlight.
“We wanted one that was family appropriate but still fun for adults, too,” Julie Rohlfing said.
The play revolves around a reality show set in a fairy tale world.
Seymour High School junior Ethan Ortman is playing the role of Terry Spaniel, the host of the reality show.
Many famous fairy tale characters make appearances on the show. The theme of the episode is forgiveness and whether or not Snow White can forgive the Evil Queen and if Cinderella can forgive her two stepsisters. Fairy tale expert Jiminy Cricket weighs in on the issues along with special guest Emmett Mantella, formerly The Frog Prince.
“The host is the leader of the show,” Ortman said. “He shakes hands and introduces everyone. He’s comedic, kind of like Jerry Springer.”
Ortman said he was shocked to find out that he got the part and was a little nervous, an emotion shared by another young actor that will be sharing the stage with him, Seymour-Redding Elementary School fourth-grader Lucy Horton. She plays the part of Old Mother Hubbard.
“I like acting. I get to show a different personality,” Lucy said.
Lucy said her character cried a lot and tried to support two other characters in the audience with her.
“The Ever After” will be Lucy’s first time acting on stage, but she has high hopes for it.
“This is great,” she said. “I feel like at a young age, I can do something in the community.”
Both actors said they worked hard on learning their lines and perfecting their characters.
“I recorded myself saying others lines and left spaces and then would listen to it and say my lines in the spaces,” Ortman said.
Lucy said she wrote thoughts about how her character should behave. In addition, she put a large amount of time into the props she would use on stage before “rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing” her lines.
“It’s great the kids will all be dressed in really fairy tale outfits, makeup and everything,” Julie Rohlfing said. “You’ll get to see the Queen of Hearts, Big Bad Wolf, Grumpy and others.”
Julie Rohlfing said this is the first winter youth performance she has been involved with, but there will be more chances for the youth of Jackson County to experience acting on stage, including a workshop the first week in June.
“We just really want to encourage the public to come out and support these 37 kids and the theater in Jackson County,” she said.
What: “The Ever After”
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 and 30 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 31
Where: Royal-Off-the-Square Theatre, 121 W. Walnut St., Brownstown
Who: Children ages 6 to 18 involved in Jackson County Community Theatre’s newly formed Jackson County Young Artists’ Theatre; directed by John and Julie Rohlfing and produced by Kathy Passereni
Tickets: May be purchased online by visiting brownpapertickets.com/event/2476130