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November 13, 2006

Shakespeare Santa Cruz presents world premiere of Sleeping Beauty

By Scott Rappaport

Shakespeare Santa Cruz will celebrate the holiday season with the world premiere of a dazzling musical version of Sleeping Beauty, November 17 through December 17, at the UCSC Theater Arts Mainstage.

Photo of cast rehearsing

Nate Jensen (Courtier) and Ashley Kirkland (Gretel) work through a dance routine during a Sleeping Beauty rehearsal.

Blending English pantomime with the American musical, creators Kate Hawley and Paul Whitworth have transformed the classic fairy tale into an exuberant and  imaginative romp for the stage--designed to appeal to audiences of all ages. 

Set in Freudian Vienna, Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s Sleeping Beauty is a sharp-witted comedy about a bratty teenage princess, bored with the confines of castle life, who fantasizes about the dangerous lives of fairy tale heroines. Despite the best efforts of her overbearing parents to protect her, the princess pricks herself--fulfilling the curse of a wicked fairy--and falls into a deep sleep of dreams.

The show was written by playwright and lyricist Hawley—who also penned Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s popular past productions of Cinderella, Gretel and Hansel, and Princess and the Pea—with artistic director Paul Whitworth in the director’s chair.

The production stars Joseph Ribeiro as the wicked fairy, Belladona, plus festival favorite Mike Ryan playing a jack-of-all-trades bellhop named Jeepers. Michele Farr plays the imperious queen. In honor of Shakespeare Santa Cruz's 25th anniversary, a number of other characters from past holiday shows will also be featured. Costumes are by B. Modern, music by Adam Wernick, choreography by Terry Barto, and sets by Jedediah Ike.

Sleeping Beauty is produced in collaboration with UCSC’s Theater Arts Department. "This production includes one of the most talented companies of student actors in our 10 years of producing these holiday shows," noted Shakespeare Santa Cruz managing director Marcus Cato. "It’s really a wonderful educational experience for the students to work alongside seasoned professionals and be part of the creation of a world premiere.”

Tickets for Sleeping Beauty are available through the UCSC Ticket Office, (831) 459-2159 or online.


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