Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Once upon a vine

Company of Fools presents ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

In this musical version of "Jack And The Beanstalk," a boy named Jack, like Alice in Wonderland, begins by reading a book. In fact he reads the Grimms' fairy tale called Jack and the Beanstalk. Sent to play in the barn by his Depression-weary parents in the 1930s, his imagination goes wild.

"Jack And The Beanstalk" is presented by Company of Fools, Wednesday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Liberty Theatre, in Hailey.

This musical retelling of the classic children's story exists in a world of magic beans, oafish giants and singing harps.

Directed by John Glenn, with music direction by R.L. Rowsey, the play will feature guest artist Aly Wepplo as Jack, guest artist Rachel Abrams, Andrew Alburger, Jana Arnold, the voice of Denise Simone and John Glenn.

"It's really fun to have Rachel and Aly back," Glenn said. "It's been a year since she was here in 'Doubt.' She's charming as Jack."

Company of Fools has some added conditions for this production. There are four school-day productions for school children that are completely full. Ticket prices were lowered by $5 each to encourage families to come together, and three story time readings will be held at the area libraries.

Glenn has created the puppets of Bessie the Cow as well as the Hen That Lays the Golden Eggs, voiced by Simone.

"In one of my former lives I made my living as a puppeteer," Glenn said. "I haven't gotten to make anything in a long time. These are big and detailed. It was fun to get to do."

Ann Hoste, a theater professor at Boise State University on sabbatical, has created bright, cheery costumes for "Jack and the Beanstalk" and the next play in Company of Fools' season, "It's a Wonderful Life."

"She's a lovely lady, she's had a really good time of getting inside Jack's head and creating an array of characters," Glenn said. "Jana Arnold, who plays Jack's mom, plays all maternal figures. She changes costumes eight times over the 50 minutes of the play."

In fact, each actor plays a couple different roles.

"It's Jack's imagination that drives the tale," Glenn said. "Mom is busy. Dad is at market. He starts by reading the book of 'Jack and the Beanstalk.' As it twists and turns, different folks come to life."

A former resident of Richmond, Va., along with Rowsey and Simone, Glenn has a long history with this show.

"It's one of the pieces I was a part of creating and working on at this theater company in Richmond," Glenn said. "My friend Doug Jones, the author of this, and I worked together on this, and on close to 20 pieces over the course of 10 years. Doug was inspired by Calvin & Hobbes, so this little boy, Jack, has some similarities to Calvin.

"The composer, Ron Barnett, is a terrific fellow and talented composer. There are fun, hum-able tunes. R.L. rearranged them and has a trio, with Tom Nash on percussion and Alyssa Hershey on violin, and RL's 'you-name-it' sounds. There's a lot of zaniness and it's very sweet too."

Playbill

· 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 8 (Pay What You Feel preview), Oct. 15 and 22.

· 7 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 9 (Educators night), Oct. 16 and 23.

· 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25.

· 3 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 12, 19 and 26.

· 11 a.m. Saturdays, Oct. 18 and 25. Immediately following the show there will be a chat with the actors and Idaho's Bounty.

· Adult tickets $20, senior tickets (62 and over) $18, children's tickets (18 years and under) $10. Recommended for preschool age and older.

· "10 for $10"—10 front seats are sold for $10 each on each night at the box office starting one hour prior to the performance. Limited two per person.

· Company of Fools' box office is at the Liberty Theatre, 110 N. Main St. in Hailey, 578-9122, or one hour prior to curtain.

· 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, story times at the Hailey Public Library.

·  11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, story time at the Community Library.




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