Apple Hill Playhouse takes on an updated 'Snow White'
A quick review of the list of characters in the Johnny Appleseed Children's Theatre production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at Apple Hill Playhouse is a good indicator that this is not Disney's version of the classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.
The Seven Dwarfs in this show are Sarge, Gabby, Gloomy, Gus, Ticklish, Sprightly, Snore and Slowpoke — not a Bashful or a Grumpy in the group. Snow White is still in the cast and so's the vain and evil queen.
“The play does follow a very similar line to the traditional story but is updated for a modern audience,” says Pamela Lee of Murrysville, who takes on the villain role as the queen. She says the play, written by Tim Kelly with music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur, has been designed for the enjoyment of all ages, “so some of the more grisly elements are understandably removed.”
The biggest challenge for Lee is “speaking the lines that talk about how gorgeous and wonderful I am without giggling.” She says she “absolutely adores playing a villain. It's fun to be horrid when everyone knows it's all in good fun.”
A mixed cast of 16 children and adults is directed by Joette Salandro of Latrobe, who has directed other productions for Apple Hill (“Everybody Loves Opal” and “Glorious”) and its Johnny Appleseed Children's Theatre (“Let Your Hair Down Rapunzel” and “The Wizard of Oz”). Salandro also teaches at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School, where she directs four shows a year. Her recent credits include “Once on This Island” and “I Remember Mama.”
She explains that in Apple Hill's version of the story, the Evil Queen is transformed into a young gypsy girl, Esmeralda, who tries to poison Snow White with a poison comb. Then the Queen is transformed into The Old Crone, who brings Snow White the poison apple.
The roles of the dwarfs are being handled by children ages 7 to 12, with teens ages 14 to 18 playing larger parts.
Snow White is portrayed by Libby Krieger of Delmont, a sophomore at Franklin Regional High School. Krieger played Wendy in “Peter Pan” in 2014 at Franklin Regional Middle School and in 2015 was in the ensemble in “Mary Poppins” as a freshman at Franklin Regional Senior High.
She is ready for her debut as Snow White.
“I've grown up attending some of the shows at Apple Hill and remember looking up to the characters — especially the princesses,” Krieger says. “It's also just a great opportunity to gain experience.”
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.