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Gerald Carpenter: PCPA Theaterfest Presents American Premiere of ‘My Fairytale’

Musical about Danish author Hans Christian Andersen runs through Sept. 25

Lesley McKinnell plays Jenny Lind and The Little Mermaid in PCPA Theaterfest's My Fairytale.
Lesley McKinnell plays Jenny Lind and The Little Mermaid in PCPA Theaterfest’s My Fairytale. (Luis Escobar photo)

Through Sept. 25, PCPA Theaterfest is presenting the American premiere of My Fairytale, a musical about Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Philip LaZebnik from an original idea by Danish actor-director Flemming Enevold.

My Fairytale is directed by Scott Schwartz, with choreography by Michael Jenkinson, musical direction by Callum Morris, sets by Tom Buderwitz, costumes by Alejo Vietti, lighting by Jen “Z” Zornow and sound by Walter T.J. Clissen.

The cast features Kevin Cahoon as Andersen and Lesley McKinnell as Jenny Lind (as well as several characters from Anderson’s fables), plus Erik Stein, Andrew Philpot, Sam Zeller and Karin Hendricks.

The PCPA production also introduces fairytale puppets designed by Emily DeCola of New York’s Puppet Kitchen.

Several of Andersen’s tales — for example, The Little Mermaid — have been made the basis of popular musicals in recent years, but the character of Andersen himself has not appeared since he was played by Danny Kaye in the marvelous 1952 musical film Hans Christian Andersen, directed by Charles Vidor and written by Myles Connolly, Moss Hart and Ben Hecht.

Sixty years is too long, and bless Stephen Schwartz for restoring Andersen to our attention.

My Fairytale initially opened in Denmark in 2005 in honor of the 200th anniversary of Andersen’s birth. Since that show was in Danish, and the PCPA production is in English and includes the introduction of puppets, some script rewrites and additional music by Stephen Schwartz, director Scott Schwartz is right to note that this has some claim to being a world premiere as well as an American one.

According to PCPA, “(My Fairytale) is an enchanted journey into the imagination of one of the world’s greatest storytellers — it’s a place of wonder, mystery and danger, and where Andersen is confronted by the characters from his fairytales. His quest is to find the Nightingale for the ailing Emperor, but he is continually kept him from his goal, being sidetracked by the fairytale characters, a boy, and a shadow.”

My Fairytale will preview in the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria through Saturday before moving to Solvang’s Festival Theater for its official run, Aug. 26- Sept. 25.

Tickets at the Marian Theatre are $23, and $36 to $39.75 at the Solvang Festival Theater, with discounts for children, students and seniors. For single tickets and more information, click here or call the box office at 805.922.8313.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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