BWW Review: Providence Ballet Theatre's SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS Enchants at the Greenwich Odeum
Providence Ballet Theatre closed out their eighth season May 5th and 6th with their own version of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS at the Greenwich Odeum. As explained by artistic director and choreographer of the show, Eva Marie Pacheco, on-stage before the performance, almost everything about this production is original and locally created - with the exception of the piece's composer, Tony Lustig, who hails from New York. Snow White was seen previously as one part of a larger program at Rhode Island College's Sapinsley Hall back in March of this year and as part of the Bank of America Arts Showcase, but this is the first time it's been presented as its own, stand alone show.
Clocking in at just under an hour run time, Snow White is a perfect introduction to ballet for children (and adults alike!), and there were plenty of both in Saturday afternoon's audience. Aside from the manageable length (performed without an intermission), the show also does not adhere to some of the classical ballet conventions one would see in Swan Lake, or even the Nutcracker, which can be confusing and a bit snooze-inducing for people who are not balletomanes.
Lily Mollicone and Elizabeth Gharavi portray the younger and old Snow Whites respectively, and both dancers immediately convey the playfulness and charm one would hope for in the title role. Gharavi, with the only en pointe dancing in the show, was technically sound and making the best use possible of the Odeum's stage. Unfortunately, depending upon where one was sitting in the audience, some upstage movements were obscured by the placement of the magic mirror, which remained on-stage even during the scenes where it had no part.
Alicia Colantonio was perfection as the stately, cold-hearted queen. Her classic ballet mime in the scenes with the huntsman was crisp, clear, and authoritative; speaking of classical ballets, I would love to see what Colantonio would do with the role of Carabosse in the Sleeping Beauty.
The dwarves' first entrance down the main aisle of the theatre was a huge hit, especially with the children in the audience. The dancers portraying said dwarves, a combination of the main company dancers and junior company members, seemed to be having as much fun with the choreography that was part modern, part character dancing, and with a little dash of hoe-down mixed in. This version of Snow White was clearly more influenced by the Disney version than the darker Brothers Grimm tale, and the chipper music that accompanied the dwarves' appearances paid homage to that most famous of Disney songs, "Heigh Ho."
As with the two Snow Whites, Sara Barney Lustig's modern dance styling as the Old Woman was also a fitting counterpart to the dancing done by Colantonio, making it very easy to believe they were in fact the same woman.
The combination of projections, lighting, and Lustig's unique music all meshed together well, which enhanced each of the individual components . The projections (designed by Chris Griffin) helped narrate the story, using text on what looked like a giant open book upstage center. They also helped set the scene, whether in the forest or the dwarves' hut, and of course, showed us in the magic mirror just who was the fairest one of all. Robert M. Ferland Jr.'s lighting design was most effectively used during the scene of the Queen's transition into the Old Woman, with its eerie, Elphaba green underglow and well-timed blackout. Tony Lustig's music was truly the element that tied everything together, with specific themes reflecting different characters and situations. A chipper motif for the dwarves, and a more ominous tone for the Woodsman (a princely, if underutilized David Dubois) and Snow White's first pas de deux, are just two examples.
Although Snow White ran for one weekend only, hopefully it will continue to appear as part of Providence Ballet Theatre's repertoire, as it is a delightful hour of ballet for audience members of any age. For more information about Providence Ballet, please visit their website at www.providenceballet.com or through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ProvidenceBalletTheatre/ .
Pictured Above: Elizabeth Gharavi as Snow White and Sara Barney Lustig as the Old Woman
Photo Credit: Kelly Colucci