Dale Wallerstein acted in her first play at Imagination Theater in Placerville in 2004, playing Yente in “Fiddler On The Roof.” She has also worked as the vocal director at the theater.
Now she returns to the stage to play Miss Minchin in “A Little Princess” and is the vocal director of the show.
“A Little Princess” opens at Imagination Theater, 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville, on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, on Friday, Nov. 30, and runs until Sunday, Dec. 23.
The play is based on the 1888 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett about 7-year-old Sara Crewe and her wealthy father Captain Crewe. Sara is sent to a boarding school in London, England run by Miss Minchin.
The beginning of Sara’s life is happy until news arrives that her father has died and her fortune is lost.
Crewe’s life changes drastically. She is forced to become a servant and must live in a small attic room at the school.
Her life changes again when a mysterious gentleman from India buys the house next door to the school.
Wallerstein said she’s “always been an actor at heart” and is having fun portraying a person who can turn against anyone at anytime.
“She’s a spinster,” said Wallerstein. “She’s rude. She’s very proper, very nasty. She’ll call students horrid, stupid and dull. She’s a very money-hungry woman.”
The 29 cast members consists mostly of children from 6 years old to high school seniors.
Besides the age variation, Wallerstein feels it’s a good variety of personalities taking part in the play.
“I really love working with both the adults and the children,” she said. “From actors who have been in several shows to some in their first play, it’s a great experience.”
In addition to working at Imagination Theater, Wallerstein sings with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra. Although experienced in performing in front of crowds, Wallerstein admits she gets nervous prior to a performance. But practice makes perfect — even if it’s waking up in the middle of night and reading over her lines.
“For this part, there’s a lot of lines,” she said. “I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and do another hour (of rehearsal) along with the six to seven hours a day. But as soon as I step on stage, I’ll be fine.”
Marissa Berry is the student-director for the play. An El Dorado High School junior, Berry works as an intern at the theater.
She speaks highly of the young actors and actresses.
“They are organized; they don’t get distracted,” Berry said.
Berry has been taking drama classes at the high school since her freshman year. She’s worked on plays at El Dorado and at Imagination Theater at the same time.
“I can go back and forth,” Berry said.
Berry plans to attend a four-year college to major in film and media after she graduates from El Dorado High School in 2014.
“I want to get a job in the film industry,” Berry said. “I’d like to be a director.”
Trinity Harwell, an eighth grader at Gold Trail School in Placerville, plays the leading role of Sara Crewe.
“Her entire life she’s been rich so she’s been treated like a little princess,” Harwell said. “But she’s a very nice person.”
The music for “A Little Princess” is less complicated than scores from other musicals that Harwell has been in.
“If there’s a harmony, it’s a two-part harmony,” Harwell said. “I think we’re going to make it really good.”
Harwell has performed in plays at Imagination Theater for the past three years and acting since she was 3 years old.
The rest of the cast includes: Lavinia (Gwen Lacher), Becky (Rylie Coble), Lottie (Grace Salvestrin), Ermengarde (Sloane Martin), Jessie (Samantha Garagay), Alice (Angie Lyman), Miss Amelia (Tori Kentz), Cook (Karen Wolfe), Mr. Barrow (John Prock), Mrs. Carmichael (Barbara Garaygay), Perky Perkins (Holly Salvestrin), Ram Dass (Bob Steele), Maid (Haley Clark), Mr. Carmichael (Dan Clark) and Mr. Carrisford (John Sanguinetti).
The ensemble students are Anne Marie Repetto, Taryn Harwell, Erina Briden, Mikayla Waldron, Anna Salvestrin, Charlize Garagay, Meg Dockter, Emma Sanguinetti, Sofia Garaygay, Kelsi Havercroft, Grace Harrison and Gigi Knochenhauer.
Peter Wolfe is the director of the play and Lanny Langston is the producer.
Tickets for the play are $17 for adults, $14 for seniors 55 and over and $10 for children 12 and under. On opening night, Thursday, Nov. 30, all tickets will be $10. Group tickets for 10 people or more can be arranged by calling the theater at 530-642-0404 or 1-800-838-3006 or visiting imagination-theater.org
For more information on purchasing tickets, contact the theater at (530) 642-0404, e-mail [email protected] or visit imagination-theater.org.
What: “A Little Princess”
Who: Imagination Theater
Where: 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville, El Dorado County Fairgrounds
When: Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. to Sunday, Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. Visit imagination-theater.org for dates and times for all shows
Tickets: $17 for adults, $14 for 55 and older and $10 for children. On opening night, Friday, Nov. 30, all tickets will be $10.
Information: Imagination Theater at (530) 642-0404, e-mail [email protected] or visit imagination-theater.org