Grimmly Ever After
Directed by Frank Siano
Written by Nishaa Carson and Cristyn Schroder
Musical Direction by Nishaa Carson
Choreography by Mariah Woessner
Central Florida Vocal Arts
Presented at the Lowndes Shakespeare Theatre
The fine mélange of singers that form the Central Florida Vocal Arts group has had some good success with their “Choose Your Own Adventure” opera productions, and tonight they morphed the concept into a “Choose Your Own Grimm’s Fairy Tale.” While the singing is still as good, the story here is more tortured, perhaps because it tries to cover more ground than the material supports. Our hosts are the Grimm brothers Wilhelm and Jacob (Kyle Stone and Justin Morrison). Wilhelm twirls his mustache, Jacob plays with his quill and they keep the audience on board with their antics. The story starts with the tale of Rumpelstiltskin (played by the elegant Caila Carter). Here Gretchen (Danielle Smith) is tossed into a room full of straw; her sleazy father who is nowhere to be seen lies to King Avid (Ben Ludwig) insisting she can spin straw into gold. Clearly, they both have a poor grasp of sub-atomic physics. We then jump over to Hansel and Gretel (Erin Stillson and Noelle Sundrene); as you recall they were hungry to the point of starvation and get a sugar rush from a ginger bread house run by and evil queen (Rachel Carreras) who later does Snow White (Fabiola Riviera) wrong by freezing her for the crime of good looks.
If all that sounds confusing and arbitrary, it is. There are plenty of exceptional vocals: “Who Will Buy My Sweet Red Roses” by Ms. Carreras, “I Do Anything For You” by Jonatan Rodriguez, and a tune from Don Giovani I can’t name due to my poor to non-existent Italian. But where we fall apart is the story line. Audience cheers motivate story continuity, but it’s a blind shot from our side of the curtain. The singers are challenged but the audience remains confused. Even the director told me he hadn’t heard all possible paths sung through. Go for the music, but plug your ears for the motivation.
For more information on Central Florida Vocal Arts please visit www.centralfloridavocalarts.com/