BWW Review: CHARLOTTE'S WEB at Rochester Association Of Performing Arts

BWW Review: CHARLOTTE'S WEB at Rochester Association Of Performing Arts

It's not always easy to find a night (or in this case, afternoon) at the theatre that's fun, entertaining, and appropriate for the whole family. Fortunately for you the Rochester Association of Performing Arts (RAPA) is presenting its production of the iconic story "Charlotte's Web", based on the classic children's story by E.B White, until August 19th.

The plot of Charlotte's Web is surely known to all, but just in case it's not: After her father (Kevin Hayes) spares the life of the runt of the litter, a little girl named Fern Arable (Marcella Cincotta) nurtures the piglet lovingly, naming him Wilbur (Lea Mancarella). On greater maturity, Wilbur is sold to Fern's uncle, Homer Zuckerman (Chip Attwood), in whose barnyard he is left yearning for companionship but is snubbed by other barn animals, until befriended by a barn spider named Charlotte (Mandi Lyn Griffith-Gurell), living on a web overlooking Wilbur's pen. Upon Wilbur's discovery that his fate is doomed, Charlotte promises to hatch a plan guaranteed to spare his life. She secretly weaves praise of him into her web, attracting publicity among Zuckerman's neighbors who attribute the praise to divine intervention. As time passes, more inscriptions appear on Charlotte's webs, increasing his renown. Therefore, Wilbur is entered in the county fair, accompanied by Charlotte and the rat Templeton (J. Ian Reynolds), whom she employs in gathering inspiration for her messages in an attempt to save Wilbur's life.

Though quaint and humble, RAPA's production of Charlotte's Web is a joy. Utilizing a single set, basic costumes, and the talent of a handful of Rochester actors young and old, RAPA brings this classic tale to life using everything from entertaining puppetry to physical humor, big musical numbers to tear-jerking monologues. A special shout out goes to Griffith-Gurell for portraying a loving, kind, and gentle Charlotte, and of course the young Lea Mancarella, a talented young lady with a bright future on the stage if her performance of Wilber is any indication.

RAPA's production reminds us all of the importance of kindness, compassion, friendship, and most importantly, that you should never judge a book by its cover.

Charlotte's Web is 90 minutes long with one 15 minute intermission. For tickets and more information, click here.

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From This Author Colin Fleming-Stumpf

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