Merrimack Repertory Theatre to Present RED RIDING HOOD FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES in January

The production will run 10th through January 28th.

By: Dec. 08, 2023
Merrimack Repertory Theatre to Present RED RIDING HOOD FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES in January

When the world's greatest actor – Wolfgang – comes to the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) stage to share his one-man performance of Red Riding Hood, his show is interrupted by a delivery person with a mysterious package. While the original fairytale warns about straying too far from the path, Allison Gregory's hilarious adaptation embraces curiosity. Wolfgang and Delivery take the classic tale in exciting new directions to keep the show going. Recommended for ages 5 and older, Red Riding Hood opens at the Richard & Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center at 240 Central Street in Lowell on January 10th through January 28th in partnership with Middlesex Community College (MCC) and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML). 

 

“Comedy is a language I love, and one that seemed right for this iconic fairytale” says playwright, Allison Gregory. “I didn't want to completely avoid the dark morality of Red Riding Hood; to me humor is a unique way to understand it. . . So, what was initially a tidy morality tale about a girl who goes off the path and falls prey to a clever wolf became something much more relatable: a story about empathy and courage and the freedom to create new narratives.” A seasoned writer for young audiences, Gregory has been recognized as “One of the 10 Most Produced TYA Playwrights” by TYA/USA. As a playwright, Gregory loves to create challenging roles and inspiring opportunities for actresses to “strut their stuff,” and she does this by writing about outsiders, families, dogs, horses, wolves, war, myth, magic, and things even she doesn't know. Some of her other works include Not Medea, Go Dog. Go!, and Peter and the Wolf; and she has been commissioned by companies such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center, South Coast Repertory, and the New Harmony Project. What she hopes that young audiences will take away from her adaptation is that, “Everyone has a story. Stories are still the best tool to show us our humanity. My great hope is that young people will leave the theatre today believing that there is joy and power in writing their own story.” 

 

Coming together to bring the story to life, MRT is partnering with Middlesex Community College (MCC) and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML). “I'm excited to partner with MRT and UML on this initiative to serve our region's young people,” says Phil Sisson, President of MCC. “Through this trifecta we have the opportunity to bring Lowell's higher education institutions together, engage our current students & alumni, and champion the impact of live theatre in downtown Lowell." Julie Chen, the Chancellor of UML, shares a similar sentiment. “Our UML students have been hard at work bringing the physical production to life. The experience for our students to join alongside professional artists in service of young audiences closely aligns with our learning outcomes and values. UML is honored to partner with MCC and MRT.” 

 

Robert McKenzie (UML graduate) plays Wolfgang. Celena Lopes (MCC's production of Rent) plays Delivery.  MCC Performing Arts Chair, Karen Oster, directs. Oster received her BFA for Musical Theatre and Directing from the Boston Conservatory, and her M.Ed. from Cambridge College. In the past, she has directed the young cast members in various productions, such as the Broadway and National Tour for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Paul Simon's The Capeman. Oster also currently works with the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization to write children's adaptations of their musicals. Helping bring this story to the stage is Kathleen Chadwick for Scenic Design. Chadwick currently serves as the Technical Director of Theatre Arts at UML, but in the past has done scenic design for the College of the Holy Cross, Greater Boston Stage, Temple University, and Watertown Children's Theatre. For the set, she has pulled inspiration from the vibrant colors of cartoons, such as the Looney Toons, and her UML Play Production class has been constructing the scenery over the course of the semester. Rounding out the team, all the better to see them is Mike Finke's Lighting Design, all the better to hear them is Rob Stimmel's Sound Design, and all the better to style them is Lee Viliesis' Costume Design. 

 

On Sunday January 21st, MRT will host a sensory friendly performance of Red Riding Hood at 11am. “We are thrilled to offer this service to families in our region and grateful to our partners at ConsultAbility for building this effort with us,” says Nancy L. Donahue Executive Artistic Director, Courtney Sale. Sensory friendly performances include adjustments to support audience members with sensory needs including house light remaining illuminated, sound reduction, quiet room availability and more.  

 

Tickets for Red Riding Hood are available now on mrt.org, as well as by contacting the Enterprise Bank Office at 978-654-4678 or box_office@mrt.org. Discounts are available for Red Riding Hood, including student discount ticket prices of $15 to any show, in person, by phone, or online. For Middlesex Community College (MCC) and UML students, $10 tickets are available with Student ID proof required for ticket pickup. For further information, visit www.mrt.org/discountsandevents or contact the Enterprise Bank Office. 

 

After Red Riding Hood, MRT will be opening Alaudin Ullah's Dishwasher Dreams, from February 28th through March 17th, 2024. Directed by Chay Yew, this show explores the complicated realities of the dreams we make for ourselves as Alaudin sets out to become a film actor in Los Angeles, but has to decide if his big break is worth creating misconceptions of his Bangladeshi heritage. Following that is The Porch on Windy Hill, written by Sherry Stegack Lutken, Lisa Helmi Johanson, Morgan Morse, and David M. Lutken that runs from April 3rd through April 21st, 2024.   

 

About Merrimack Repertory Theatre  

Celebrating its 45th Season, Merrimack Repertory Theatre has been Merrimack Valley's professional theatre company since 1979 and is an integral part of Lowell's identity as the cultural heart of the region. MRT's mission is to create remarkable new and contemporary plays that bring joy to our art form while engaging, entertaining, and enriching our community. A five-show season runs through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theatres nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres). 

Merrimack Repertory Theatre 
 Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre at Liberty Hall 
 (In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium) 
 50 E. Merrimack Street 
 Lowell, MA 01852 
 Box Office: 978-654-4678 | mrt.org 




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