“She’s kind of feisty. She’s not your regularly expected princess,” said Barbara Lynne Feldman, executive director of the Augusta nonprofit that produces plays for schoolchildren and families.
The unconventional lead character provides a twist on the classic fairy tale.
There’s a reason for that, Feldman said.
“We have our own little twist because we want to make sure they’re good for the children,” she said. “We want the children to learn something and go back to school with something to talk about.”
During the week, school children take field trips to see plays at Imperial Theatre, where the shows are staged. Families can make reservations to see the show during the week, and are also invited to family matinees on Saturdays, when no reservations are required.
Saturday performances are special because the audience is invited to stay late to meet the actors after the show, Feldman said.
“It’s a wonderful activity to do with your family,” she said. “Walk around downtown, have lunch and do something special, then come see the show.”
All three shows staged by Storyland this season – including Cinderella, which was staged in October, The Princess and the Pea this month and Jack and the Beanstalk in March – are original musicals written by Augusta writers.
“We have never used a show from a play catalogue,” Feldman said.
Storyland was founded in Augusta in 1988 and has performed shows for about a half-million students, teachers, chaperones and families. For many children, it is a rare opportunity to see live theater.
“Sixty percent of our audience are economically disadvantaged children,” Feldman said. “This is an opportunity for them to see live theater that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”
On occasion, they’ll bring up the lights between scenes so kids can see the crew turning the set.
“They learn a little about how theater works, as well,” she said.
Storyland last performed this slate of musicals in Augusta about five years ago. The production changes a little each time.
“We pick out costumes from Vintage Ooollee (a shop in Augusta), so the costumes are different each time we do the show,” Feldman said. “That’s important to us. Everything we do, we try to do it in a new way. We try to make it the best show possible. You can see it on the kids’ faces. They really enjoy it.”