BWW Reviews: Stages St. Louis's Charming Production of Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY

June 23
2:57 PM 2014
BWW Reviews: Stages St. Louis's Charming Production of Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY

Along with their regular productions each season, Stages St. Louis always presents a show that's part of their Theatre for Young Audiences series. Since I've been reviewing theatre in St. Louis I've made an effort to attend one of these performances (with my son along for the experience) because they're always very well done, and it's important to me that children are exposed to the arts. This year's effort is Disney's Sleeping Beauty, and it continues an excellent tradition of providing families with a lively and fun show that's a genuine treat.

When Princess Aurora is born, her parents King Stefan (John Flack) and Queen Stefanie (Lauren Roesner) are visited by throngs of well wishers. But, one among them has more sinister motives. Maleficent, an evil witch, casts a spell on the child that says she will die on her 16th birthday. Luckily, three guardian fairies with powers of their own, Flora, Fauna. and Merryweather are present. They alter the curse so that the princess will only fall into a deep slumber that can be reversed by the kiss of true love. They also spirit away the infant so that she can be raised secretly, and christen her with a new name, Briar Rose.

Laura Ernst (Flora), Laurie McConnell (Fauna) and April Strelinger (Merryweather) act to narrate the goings-on and provide a charming and delightful presence. The lovely Berklea Going does splendid work as Princess Aurora/Briar Rose, and also displays a strong and captivating voice. Charlie Ingram is properly heroic as Prince Phillip (played as a boy by Cole Hoefferle), and his father, King Hubert, is played by the always amusing Whit Reichert. Morgan Amiel Faulkner, a particular favorite of my son, is excellent as Maleficent, and she's aided by Brennan Caldwell (Snitch) and Erick (Keiser) as her evil minions.

Michael Hamilton's direction is nicely rendered, and the entire cast seems to be having a wonderful time with this playful material. Stephen Bourneuf's choreography is sprightly performed, and Lisa Campbell Albert's musical direction is spot on, as always. Jason Coale's scenic design captures a nice storybook feel, and Jeff Shearer's costuming is very colorful.

Go see the Stages St. Louis production of Disney's Sleeping Beauty (through June 29, 2014) and be enthralled by its considerable charms. It's a perfect show for the entire family to enjoy.


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Chris Gibson Chris has been active in the local theatre scene for over 30 years. In addition to his acting work, he's also contributed as a director, writer and composer. Though, initially a film buff, he grew tired of the sanitized, PG-13 rated blockbusters that were being continually shoved down his throat by the studios. An opportunity to review theatre in St. Louis has grown exponentially with the sudden explosion of venues and talent in the region. He now finds himself obsessed with witnessing those precious, electric moments that can only happen live, on stage.

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