Saturday, June 25, I saw my very first summer musical from Abilene’s Paramount Productions. Somehow, every year I end up out of town during the weekend of the show. (I’ve always sort of wished the shows would run for two weekends. I would definitely consider going twice.) This year I made a point to see the annual arts tradition come to life.
Let me just start by saying Abilene is full of talented people, and shows like these are a great outlet for local talent to be showcased. I was impressed by the production value, and the performances. If you haven’t made it to one of these shows, you should.
Cinderella, her prince and little red riding hood were my personal favorites. They had strong, hilarious and touching musical performances. Their comedic timing was a pleasure to behold.
Cinderella’s prince, played by Andrew Boone, simply stole the show. Now studying theatre at ACU, Andrew graduated from Wylie High School and has what looks to be a bright future ahead of him. Cinderella herself, played by Nicole Sutphen, had vocals that were simultaneously strong and sweet. Nicole just graduated from AHS and will be attending Oklahoma City University in the fall to study Musical Theatre. Anna Claire Boone played Little Red Riding Hood and just finished 8th grade at Wylie Junior High. She performs with such pizazz! I am anxiously anticipating what she will do next.
We will see great things from all of them, I’m sure!
“Into the Woods” has been one of my favorite musicals for several years now, since I stumbled upon a recording of the original Broadway cast on Netflix streaming (before streaming was cool). I highly recommend watching this version. Bernadette Peters slayed as the sassy witch. In that version of events, the narrator and the mysterious old man are played by the same actor. Paramount Artistic Director Barry Smoot made some clever changes by having a young boy narrate instead. I thought it was fun to have the story told from the perspective of a youth. It gave the show a fresh perspective. I did struggle, however, with the changes to the mysterious old man.
Originally a Rumpelstiltskin type that haunts the main characters and prods the plot along, the creative choice to dress this character in a Mad Men-era suit was a bit hard to digest in the midst of the fairy tale surroundings. It did, however, lead to a very clever and beautiful finale where all the fairy tale characters came out dressed in Mad Men-era clothing that resembled their fairy tale clothes. I loved it. It made the show feel like this little boy had been telling a story about people he really knew under the guise of fantasy. And let’s just be honest, the costumes were beautiful all the way around. A round of applause for Richard Transki.
The last thing I want to gush about: the set. I mean just look at it!
I can’t say much more than that I was very impressed with the set and the way it was used to tell so many different colliding stories. Well done, Gary Varner, well done.
Paramount Productions, I will definitely be back.
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