The classic story of Disney’s Princess Aurora is colorfully re-imagined in Marriott Theatre’s “Sleeping Beauty.”
The musical fairy tale opens with King Lapis (Steven Strafford) anxiously awaiting the birth of his daughter, Princess Amber. Topaz (William Carlos Angulo), the king’s bilingual court jester, and a trio of fairy godmothers — Ruby (Danni Smith), Marigold (Sharriese Hamilton) and Periwinkle (Cassie Slater) — bring comic relief and some serious pipes in their attempts to ease the king’s anxiety. Baby Amber is born well and all seems right in the kingdom.
But banished fairy, Magenta (Meghan Murphy), soon crashes the happy occasion. Angered about her removal from the kingdom years ago because she was a shade of purple, she sought revenge on King Lapis and cursed the new princess.
Years pass and Amber is now a confident and daring teenager. Despite being under the watchful eyes of Topaz and the three fairy godmothers, Magenta’s curse on Amber comes to fruition.
Hunter (Garrett Lutz), a fearful, allergy-stricken prince — and a dead ringer for actor Andrew Garfield — is the only person who can save Princess Amber by overcoming difficult obstacles that Magenta has placed in his way, and proving his love for her once and for all.
The fast-paced show is truly a delight, with wonderfully upbeat songs, a stellar cast and some deep belly laugh moments. Perhaps my favorite aspect, though, was the subtle weaving in of lessons of acceptance and empathy: Magenta, shunned because she is not the “right” color, is angry and reacts harshly, violently. And it is only after the others take the time to listen to her feelings that they understand the extent of her pain. The message that sends to kids today, even on a subconscious level, is so, so important.
Immediately following the performance is a short question-and-answer session. At the performance I attended, kids proved to be thoroughly engaged in what they had just watched and asked thoughtful questions about the magic that made it all happen. Questions ranged from “How did the dragon talk and breathe smoke?” to “Did you really kiss at the end?” The latter receiving an enthusiastic and giggly “Eeewwwww” from the younger set in the crowd when Prince Hunter/Garrett Lutz responded, “Yes. And we practiced many times, too!”
The show runs about 75 minutes (including the Q&A). The cast encourages audience participation throughout and Marriott’s classic round theater ensures there’s no bad seat in the house.
If you go
10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire