Featuring a cast of 76 children, the Little People’s Repertory Theatre production of “Cinderacula: The Curse of the Brothers Grimm” premiered on the Park Hall stage in Ben Lomondthis week.
The show — following an original script by local playwright and theater professor Janinne Chadwick — is designed as a rock opera and a parody both of modern popular culture and of horror movies of the 1950s.
“I’ve been working on it for half a year,” said Chadwick, who teaches theater at San Jose City College, Cabrillo College and California State University, Monterey Bay.
According to Chadwick, the overwhelming majority of the children in the show are of middle school age, which has translated into a highly driven group — a valuable characteristic, given that rehearsals began the week of June 11.
“It’s been great having all these kids,” she said. “They’re so focused.”
In the span of a month, Chadwick said, an intricate set sprang up and kids memorized lines and lyrics, most of which parody well-known songs.
Pop culture references will resonate with younger audiences and adults alike, with nods to the modern “Twilight” franchise and the Kardashian family, alongside “The Munsters” and old Universal Studios monster movies.
“It’s like a mash-up of all that,” Chadwick said.
She confessed that her favorite part was a song-and-dance number featuring a series of ghosts in parachute pants spoofing MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”
The show follows Cinderbella, played by Chloe Zehr, as she deals with life at Transylvania High and tries to save her father, who has been bitten by the Kardraculans, all while chasing the affection of Prince Edward.
The show is directed by Daria E. Troxell, and music is being directed by Arindam Krishna Das. Choreographers are Whitney James Heskett and Marinda James Heskett.
Chadwick applauded the young thespians’ professionalism and the help of volunteers — both parents and theater enthusiasts — who contributed to all manner of preparation for the show, especially set construction.
“It’s a great community effort to get this up,” she said. “It’s so much fun.”
The show opened at Park Hall on Thursday, July 19, and continues through the end of July.
At a glance
WHAT: Little People’s Repertory Theatre’s “Cinderacula: The Curse of the Brothers Grimm”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. July 20 to 21 and July 25 to 28; 2 p.m. matinees July 22 and 29
WHERE: Park Hall, 9370 Mill St., in Ben Lomond
DETAILS: Tickets can be bought at the box office or online.
COST: $13.50 for adults, $8.50 for children younger than 15