Fall in love with ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Maleficent (Cassie King, 14), center, makes an unwelcome appearance at the royal celebration presenting the daughter of Queen Summer (Magen Fregoso, 17) and King August (Sean Kauffmann, 15). Fortunately the good fairies Fauna (Hailee Bernard, 15) and Flora (Amber Otwell, 14) are able to diminish the evil witch’s curse on the baby girl. Village Life photo by Noel Stack

Good fairies and an accidental hero make sure Prince Charming and Princess Aurora live happily ever after in Oak Ridge High School’s student-directed production of “Sleeping Beauty,” opening next week.

Junior Courtney Wrba, 16, sits in the director’s chair for this children’s show based on the classic fairy tale. But don’t expect this version to mirror Disney’s iconic cartoon. Wrba selected a script with a touch of controversy — only two good fairies.

“There’s no Merryweather,” Wrba said.

Also, a new hero emerges in this version as a sidekick to Prince Charming. He’s appropriately named … Hero. What he does to save the day will surprise everyone.

Last Friday the cast costumed up for the first time and as they ran around the stage, looking for boots and props and waving wands, Wrba said she’s had a great time directing the young actors. They started rehearsing after the Christmas break.

“They’ve taken direction better than I thought they would,” she said.

Though the director did later confess she’s had “issues with fairies fluttering” about the stage. That’s a no-no.

This is the first time Wrba has directed an Oak Ridge production. She served as assistant director last year and has acted in several high school plays, including “Guys and Dolls,” “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” and “Rumors.”

A broken foot sidelined her ability to be on the stage so she started working behind the scenes, first in lighting and then in directing. “I really enjoy it,” Wrba said. “It’s fun to be a part of the technical side.”

Each rehearsal starts with a cast meeting where Wrba shares her plans for the day. Friday was a big day for the prince, played by sophomore Keith Walisa, 15, and the princess, freshman Olivia Powell, 15. “Today is the kissing day,” Wrba said.

The prince’s kiss breaks the spell so (no pressure here) it has to be just perfect. “And then it’s happily ever after for the happy couple,” Wrba said.

The play’s ending gets even happier when Maleficent, played by freshman Cassie King, 14, meets her match in the well-intentions but clumsy Hero, played by freshman Colby Harper, 15.

Other “Sleeping Beauty” cast members include freshman Hailee Bernard, 15, as Fauna; freshman Amber Otwell, 14, as Flora; freshman Sean Kauffmann, 15, as King August; junior Magen Fregoso, 17, as Queen Summer; freshman Celeste Carle, 15, as the royal musician; and freshman Alia Crook, 14, as the gift bearer.

“Sleeping Beauty” is presented by the Oak Ridge High School Theatre Arts program at the school theater, 1120 Harvard Way in El Dorado Hills. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Feb. 2-4 and Feb. 9-11, 2 p.m. Feb 4 & 5 and Feb. 11 & 12.

Tickets are $8 general admission and $5 for children 12 and younger. To reserve tickets call (916) 947-PLAY.

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Posted by on Jan 23 2012.
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