It is the event of the century at the Fairy God Mansion: The centennial celebration where the next fairy tale will be selected.
Fairy Godmothers Glinda ( Kendra Munger), Moonflower ( Nell Teare), Thistle ( Stephanie Fredricks), and runty, ne’er-do-well Hazel ( Rachel Genevieve), gather to greet their Fairy God Mistress Minerva ( Gina Torrecilla). At the stroke of midnight, Minerva conjures forth the truth-speaking, magic Mirror ( Charls Sedgwick Hall), to name the newest Fairy tale hero. The Mirror proffers the name of as Prince Copernicus ( Christopher Maikish) from the Kingdom of Sunshine.
It is Minerva’s job to interview Prince Copernicus and discover his temperament, his quest and his true love. Only then can the Fairy God Mistress assign the proper Fairy Godmother. She finds his disposition is sunny, his quest is to vanquish an invincible fire-breathing dragon and his true love is… another prince, Prince Helio ( Patrick Gomez).
Despondent over the Mirror’s selection and adamant that a prince cannot love a prince, but nevertheless bound by the sanctity of this centennial fairy tale, Minerva sets her mind on sabotage and assigns Hazel the task of aiding the Prince in his quest. Glinda (of Oz fame) becomes aware of Minerva’s desire to thwart Hazel and Prince Copernicus, but does not know how to stand up to the powerful Fairy God Mistress.
Could it be the Mirror actually speak an untruth? Can Glinda stand by doing nothing, even as the Fairy God Mistress plots to ensure this new fairy tale’s failure? Can Hazel find her self-confidence in time to help Prince Copernicus succeed and take her rightful place among the other memorable, beloved Fairy Godmothers?
I Loved This Show!
In looking for shorthand to tell people about it, the most fitting comparison would be Wicked. Just as Gregory Maguire tweaks the mythology of The Wizard of Oz, Brian Pugach’s The Next Fairy Tale successfully flips the script on common knowledge in popular fairy tales, pulling back the veil on the perceived absolute goodness and perfection in the realm of Fairy Godmothers. The Fairy Land-speak is pretty funny without being overly clever. The Next Fairy Tale is rich with drama and laughter and song. Pugach’s libretto is impressive for his first time out, demonstrating true skill lyrically and a great balance of tone musically.
Cast chemistry is lightning in a bottle and Director Michael Shepperd has truly captured it in this production. The ensemble of this show is extremely well balanced vocally and solidly cast theatrically. While there is no clear lead in this piece, for me, Christopher Maikish was particularly enjoyable to watch. Maikish renders a committed and truthful performance that saves the magnanimous Prince Copernicus from the slippery slope of cliché. Similarly, Gina Torrecilla’s Minerva is perfectly sinister in her steady downward spiral into darkness. She really makes her character’s journey authentic, not evil from the start, but simply corrupted by power and the best of intentions. Team Fairy God Mother is a quartet of formidable comic actresses. Prince Helio ( Patrick Gomez) is beyond adorable. And I absolutely must give a shout out to the Gingerbread Chorus. That “More than a Tower” number made my year! Well Done.
Aside from the stellar cast, it is the details that truly sell this production. Lighting design and precise sound effects infuse a layer of vitality to this magical world. This production has magic tricks. Dashes with clever sleight of hand moments give the essential magical element tangible credibility. These fairy hands are certainly quicker than this reviewer’s eye.
In my opinion, this show is very family friendly; at minimum it aims for the child at heart. This story of two princes in love, tiptoes all the way to the edge and pulls back gracefully and swiftly at all the right moments. There is one gaff in the story’s chronology, and one duet that came off pitchy, but these are forgivable lapses in an otherwise successful production.
This is a great show. (Have I said that enough times?) It succeeds on all the crucial points that a fairy tale needs to: it transports the audience to a far away place where the innocent must confront evil for the first time, learning something about themselves and the world along the way. The tale is told in a fun and fanciful way through colorful, sympathetic characters, juiced with an extra douse of innocence and naiveté. There are magical woodland creatures and magical mirrors with attitude. Moreover, the show’s message is lovely conveyed with the perfect balance of music, goofiness and complexity: that even in this land of “ever after”, the fight for change and acceptance is a hard fought battle. And of course, “to thine own self be true.” The Next Fairy Tale delivers these important life lessons in a way designed to reach the child in all of us.
The World Premiere engagement of Brian’s Pugach’s The Next Fairy Tale is running now through April 24, 2011 at:
7051-B Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
For Tickets, please call: 323-957-1884