Grimm’s Fairy Tales have always been a favorite of mine. I’m not sure which tale I like the best, but having a son kind of kept me away from a new found favorite of mine, Rapunzel. I, along with my almost 15-year old step daughter-to-be, Lauren, went to see the production of Rapunzel at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in Lehigh Valley recently. Lauren is very interested in acting so I thought if she could see firsthand what is expected of an actress, it might help her in her decision-making process of what she wants to be when she grows up.
So, as the original story goes, in short form synopsis, Rapunzel, the Princess, is given away at birth to a wicked witch. She is locked in a castle and is never allowed out. She decides to make the time go by quicker, by seeing how long her hair could grow. And, boy did it grow! Her hair ends up being used by her witch mother to climb in and out of the castle since there are no other exits or entrances, which helped keep them safe from anyone trying to kidnap Rapunzel. When her teen years approach, she gets inquisitive about getting out of the castle and exploring the world. One day as she is sitting in the castle window singing, she is spotted by a young man, Liam, a shoemaker from the nearby village. He eventually uses her hair to climb up to her and they form a relationship. Liam offers his hand in marriage and the two form an escape plan. They end up finding the King and Queen, Rapunzel’s birth parents, and it is a very happy reunion. The Princess then marries Liam and they live happily ever after.
Now, for the kicked up version of the production done by the talented cast at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Did you know that Rapunzel had four spider friends that keep her company? There is also a rabbit who is the narrator of the entire story. And, plenty of dancing is done including jamming out to Uptown Funk. And, selfies are taken! Not what you would picture in Grimm's Fairy Tales, is it? This is why I love the productions at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. They are always brought to a modern light. They appeal to kids of all ages … including adults!
The kids’ production’s that are done each year last approximately an hour, which is the perfect length for keeping their attention span. The stage area allows kids to actually sit on the floor so they are up close and personal with the actors. There is always interaction between the cast and the kids, which is such a delight to the youngsters. The kids also really enjoy the end of each production where they get to meet the cast, get autographs and have pictures taken with them in the lobby.
As for the Rapunzel production, I must say that Stephanie Hodge, who played Rapunzel, did a fantastic job. She was engaging and charismatic. The bunny narrator was played by Phoenix Best. Phoenix was last year’s lead in the production of Cinderella, and was a delight as well. Kudos should go out to the entire cast, as they really made the audience laugh.
Rapunzel runs through August 1, 2015. For tickets, click here.
You can also take advantage of a Lehigh Valley Kidsventure package which includes a ticket to both Rapunzel and their Shakespeare for Kids program, for only $20. If you need an overnight package, click here.
So why not start a new tradition with your kids each summer by attending a production at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival? You won’t be disappointed!