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Theater

Apple Hill puts a new spin on 'Sleeping Beauty' — but they still live happily ever after

| Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 8:51 p.m.
Melanie Gillot is Princess Elaine in Apple Hill Playhouse's production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ June 19-23.
Tobitha Sasso
Melanie Gillot is Princess Elaine in Apple Hill Playhouse's production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ June 19-23.

Apple Hill Playhouse opens its children's season with a whimsical take on a favorite fairy tale.

Kids will meet some new characters in R. Eugene Jackson and Patsy Pollard's musical adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty” – characters like Chester the Jester, Typsy the Gypsy and Prince Dauntless.

“This script is very different from the original,” says Tina Lepidi-Stewart of North Huntingdon, who directs the show June 19-23 at the playhouse in Delmont. “There is a jester that keeps the action going; the Queen is a cry baby and the King is indecisive. There is also a fire-breathing dragon in there to throw everyone off.”

Lepidi-Stewart says the one familiar part of this children's show is that at the end of the story, the prince kisses the princess and they live happily ever after.

Good conquers evil

“The show is fun and filled with comedy,” she says. “The audience will take away a good feeling that good conquers evil.”

Nellie Cook, a home-schooled high school student from Confluence, finds it easy getting into her role of Typsy the Gypsy.

“She is a gypsy who use to live in the mountains and got so dizzy from traveling up and down that she's continually losing her balance and falling over,” Cook explains. “I can relate to Typsy, because I also live in the mountains and tend to be pretty clumsy.”

She jokes that she's working on making Typsy's dizziness seem realistic “without actually falling and injuring myself or my fellow actors.”

Zany characters

With its funny lines and zany characters, “Sleeping Beauty” is a show that young audiences can't help but get caught up in, she says.

Michael Dunlap of Latrobe plays Prince Dauntless, a very naïve royal who is having problems advancing his relationship with Princess Elaine (Melanie Gillott of Scottdale) because he is unaware of what's really going on around him.

“The parents will enjoy seeing the kids up on stage and having their kids enjoy the show,” he says. “The kids will love the charm of the show – and the princess, of course.”

Dunlap will be a freshman in the fall at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, majoring in theater and digital journalism. His recent stage credits include playing Sergeant Trotter in Greater Latrobe High School's “The Mousetrap” and Willy Sonia in Greensburg Civic Theatre's “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” a show that was directed by Lepidi-Stewart.

Cook performed in “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Addams Family Musical” at Geyer Performing Arts Center.

The cast of “Sleeping Beauty” also includes Katie Dunlap of Latrobe, Rachel Lewandowski of Greensburg, Monica Kramer, Mia and Gavin Lynch of Pittsburgh, Nathaniel Lyons of Murrysville and Zach Gilkey of North Huntingdon.

Apple Hill's children's season also will offer productions of “L'il Red” July 31-Aug. 4 and “Really Rosie” Oct. 12-21.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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