One of Storyland Theatre’s biggest fans is 3-year-old Beau Rhodes.
“He really gets into it,” said his dad, Austin Rhodes, who plays the King in Storyland’s upcoming production of The Frog Prince.
Rhodes started performing with Storyland several years before his son’s birth, and Beau typically sees the shows his dad is in. Rhodes said Beau probably won’t like the role his dad is performing because he doesn’t like “royalty roles,” but there is one character Rhodes thinks he will really like – Phineas Frog, a puppet, operated by Jacques Fournier.
“Kids his age really love puppets, and at the same time, the world’s most famous puppet is Kermit the Frog,” said Rhodes.
Storyland is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and it has produced the play by Augusta playwright David Bartlett several times during its history. It’s the only one in Storyland’s repertoire with a puppet in the cast.
Director Barbara Feldman, who has played the villainess Madame La Crock, in several productions, said Phineas is a believable character despite being a puppet.
“Whenever I’ve performed Madame La Crock, I started looking at Phineas as a person and forgetting who was under the table operating Phineas. He’s the cutest thing.”
The tale is Storyland’s take on the familiar theme of a prince being turned into a frog and needing a princess to kiss him to return him to his former self.
Storyland’s productions are held during the school day for preschool and elementary schoolchildren.
Nancy Cisick, a retired Richmond County principal and Storyland board member, has created materials that comply with state standards in Georgia and South Carolina for teachers to use to tie the field trip into their curriculum.
The Frog Prince will be presented at 9:30 and 10:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 and at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, at Imperial Theatre.
Tickets cost $4.50 per student for the weekday shows. Reservations are required. The Saturday matinee is $6 per person with free admission for active-duty military, and their families.
Storyland’s final performance of its 25th anniversary season is a musical production of Sleeping Beauty. It will be performed the week before spring break, April 2-5, and reservations are still available.
For more information, call (706) 736-3455 or visit www.storylandtheatre.org.