Breaking stereotypes is all the rage in current children’s books, television shows and theatrical performances; The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences is no stranger to changing things up and sharing less-than-typical tales. Scott Weinstein directs and choreographs Sleeping Beauty sharing with us a princess who isn’t very regal and a prince with more fears than bravery. The audience is left giggling and cheering their way through the performance rooting for the unlikely prince.
Theatre enriches the lives of all who enter and it is important to me that my children experience the joy and wonder of the stage. We’ve seen every holiday season show that The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences has put on since our oldest was three years old, and we all (including my son) loved this playful show!
The story opens with Topaz, played by William Angulo, who is a mythical creature in a magical land speaking both English and Spanish to the audience. His excitement for the birth of the new prince or princess, today, is contagious. We quickly meet Steven Strafford playing the King who leaves children roaring with laughter as he runs in and out of the theater awaiting the birth of his child — if you’ve never been to the Marriott, the magic is absolutely the interactive comings and goings of the actors through the aisles.
We soon meet the newborn princess and the fairies who joyfully bestow their greatest wishes upon the baby — until the evil Magenta played by Meghan Murphy arrives with revenge on her heart after being left out of a party years and years ago. Through the years, Princess Amber, played by Elizabeth Telford is protected by her hovering fairy caregivers and father until her fateful sixteenth birthday when she curiously pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep with death drawing near at dawn.
Garrett Lutz stars as Prince Hunter, an unexpectedly gentle and very allergic boy who breaks any stereotypes we’ve ever known of a prince. Will he be the one to break the curse and save the life of his friend with true love’s kiss or will his fears, anxieties and hilarious seasonal allergies keep him from becoming the hero he was meant to be?
Our son could not handle the excitement of the dragon — the costume is creatively designed and operated by three different people. He kept asking when we’d see the dragon again, and we were not expecting such playful interaction between the dragon and the prince! (Note: The dragon’s entrance may be startling for younger children, but we did not feel it was scary.)
This show brought our family so much joy! We laughed and cheered, held hands as we hoped for Prince Hunter to conquer his fears, and celebrated Princess Amber’s less than conventional princess ways. The actors who performed Sleeping Beauty shared such unique abilities from dancing, character development and singing that we felt connected to each one! Our daughter loved Periwinkle and her overly dramatic fainting and playful worrying. We truly laughed our way through the one-hour show and could have sat much longer!
Sleeping Beauty runs on most Wednesdays through Sundays at 10:00 a.m. with some performances at 12:30 p.m. Visit MarriottTheatre.com or call (847) 634-0200 to purchase tickets and to find the show schedule, as show times and dates vary. Single ticket prices are $17.23 per person (includes fees and taxes). Free parking is available at all shows.
Disclosure: The writer received tickets to the media preview in order to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are the writer’s own and no further compensation was received.