BWW Reviews: A LITTLE PRINCESS Gets The Royal Treatment
Exceptionally crafted, Sacramento Theatre Company's world premiere of "A Little Princess" is full of imagination and excitement. A well-paced book by William J Brooke follows the story of young Sara Crewe's dealings with life's troubles. From "supposing" optimism to acceptance and pragmatism, the psychological drama of the adaptation reads down-to-earth and true, especially as Sara's journey contrasts with schoolmistress Miss Minchin's aversion to happy endings. And it's matched by exquisite music written by Eric Rockwell.
Aside from two or three fun songs that make no statement in the music world, Rockwell's score has a similar feel to the Broadway musical version of "The Secret Garden." No surprise there, since both stories share the same original author. Rockwell creates memorable songs for each character, building brilliant layers of tunes audiences can't help but walk away singing. The composer wonderfully weaves upbeat, entertaining music with incredibly moving soft pieces.
The musically dominated production features an amazing cast, with the younger roles double cast. Lauren Metzinger created an energetic and visionary Sara at Sunday's performance, while standouts Christine Muashiro and Emma Vance were Sara's enthusing friends Ermengarde and Becky. Sacramento favorite Jerry Lee made a soothing and ethereal Captain Crewe, Sara's father, while Josh Powell was an amiable Tom Carrisford, Crewe's friend and business partner, and Michael De Souza had many memorable comedic moments in the second act as Ram Dass, Tom's servant. De Souza also made a suitable narrator to the piece, playing a large part in the musical's stirring finale. Deborah Tranelli played the pitiable Miss Minchin, Martha Omiyo Kight played Minchin's good-natured sister, and Tyler Wipfli played Sara's lively French maid.
Director Michael Laun and Choreographer Michele Hillen-Noufer keep the action going with plenty of creative dance breaks and great use of a small stage. Their fantastic cast, along with Kelly Tighe's magical scenic designs and Jessica Minihan's bright costume designs, do a magnificent job with a beautiful new creation that has great potential, and, hopefully, a royal future.
A LITTLE PRINCESS
Through May 19
Sacramento Theatre Company
Photo Credit: Kelly Christofferson