Special Event : HANSEL AND GRETEL
Rosina Daintymouth, the evil witch of the Ilsenstein, waits in her cottage of candy and cake for Hansel and Gretel May 30, 31 and June 1 and 2, as Habersham Community Theater in Clarkesville brings the familiar fairy tale to life.
“Hansel and Gretel, the Musical,” is an adaptation by Bob Smith, who also directs the show, of the famous music drama by Englebert Humperdink. Based on the well-known fairy tale by the brothers Grimm, Humperdinck’s original intention was to compose some incidental music for a children’s play his sister had written for the family.
Instead, Humperdinck developed it into a large-scale music drama that has become a world wide favorite. It was the first complete production broadcast from an opera house in Europe in 1923. The first Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast in America in 1935 featured Dorothee Manski as the Witch. Manski was Smith’s voice teacher at Indiana University.
Humperdinck used genuine children’s folk songs for Hansel and Gretel which, along the “Prayer,” have become a part of Western Culture. Smith has adapted the work to Humperdinck’s original intention of a play with songs. Originally in German, Smith has used several translations in this musical version.
It is quite possible that everyone everywhere knows and is delighted by the story of Hansel and Gretel: two poor children (played by Cash Laws and Christie Taylor) lost in the forest, watched over by angels (portrayed by dancers from Premiere Dance Academy in Cornelia), almost captured by the witch (played by Trey Smagur), happily united with their parents (played by Jane Marie Price and Drew Townsend), and finally ending with an appropriate moral that wickedness gets punished and everyone praising God in a choral version of the “Prayer.”
Cash Laws comes to the role of Hansel having just won in his age division of the Habersham County Kiwanis Talent Show. Other awards include first place in the Who’s Got Talent competition in Franklin, NC and first place in music theater in the Federated Music Club 2012 auditions. In February he won first place in music in the Habersham County 4H District Project Achievement. He was recently seen as Randolph in the HCT production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Christy Taylor’s Gretel follows her also winning the same award in the White County Kiwanis Talent Show. Christy received superior ratings in 2012 and 13 in piano, classical voice, and music theater in the Federated Music Club local auditions. She has been seen in numerous HCT shows such as “Annie,” “The Sound of Music,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” She is soloist with the White County Color Guard, veterans’ organization, and recently performed before 3,000 at the HEMC Annual Meeting. She is one of only two female cast members in Holly Theater production of Disney’s “Aladdin” set for September in Dahlonega and also to be entered in the Music Theater International Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta next January.
Traditionally written for a woman, in recent years the role of the witch is frequently played by a tenor including at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. HCT is honored to have one of its long-time stars, Trey Smagur, return for this featured role. Trey sang the witch as a voice major at Shorter University where he received his BM degree in voice in 2012. He sang several other leading roles at Shorter and won first place in the national vocal competition of the Music Teachers National Association in NYC. He also won first place in state and region National Association of Teachers of Singing Classical Vocal auditions in 2010, ‘11, and ‘12. Trey began performing at HCT at the age of 12 and continued through high school in musicals such as “Guys and Dolls” and “Damn Yankees.” He was also seen in Habersham Central musicals. He currently holds the position of Associate Instructor of Voice as he pursues his masters degree in voice performance at Indiana University.
Mother Jane Marie Price has taken numerous leading roles both at HCT and at HCHS. She is equally at home in musicals, drama, and comedy. New to HCT, father Drew Townsend graduated from Bob Jones University with a major in Mass Communication and a minor in Dramatic Production. He is active with the North Georgia Community Players and Franklin, NC, Smoky Mountain Performing Arts.
Another HCT alumna, Hannah Gale, will sing the Sandman. A sophomore theater major at Kennesaw State University, Hannah will be remembered for her lead role at HCT in “Hairspray.” Jenifer Kulow who has also been seen in several HCT productions will sing the Dew Fairy.
Choreographer Tracy Marsengill of Premiere Dance and Performing Arts Academy is preparing Premier Dancers Savannah Hayes, Cheyenne Hayes, Jenifer Kulow, Miranda Jones, Grace Thompson, Andrea Caudell, Lily Geiger, Claire Kelly, Brooke Hayes, Cassidy Hayes, Kate Trotter, and Taylor Waller for the Angel Ballet, Hansel and Gretel’s dream.
Gingerbread Children are Abbey Bonds, Jolie Ford, Allison Highsmith, Katherine Claire Highsmith, Patrick Highsmith, McKayla Ryals, Anna Siebert, Caroline Williams, Charlie Williams, and Mary Catherine Williams.
The children’s parents and forest ogres are Anna Davis, Elizabeth Hughes, Lawson Lewallen, Kameron Nicely, and Alyssa Rohrig.
Evening performances are at 7:30 and the Sunday matinee is at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children and full-time students.
Donna James is accompanist. Lynda Smith is assistant director.
Reservations may be made at 706-839-1315 or you may purchase tickets online.