Going beyond the ‘Wizard of Oz’

Sarah Braun, Helen Sher, Michael Trainer and David Ferrier take the stage in this adaptation of three L. Frank Baum tales.  Credit: Gerald van Wilgen
Sarah Braun, Helen Sher, Michael Trainer and David Ferrier take the stage in this adaptation of three L. Frank Baum tales.
Credit: Gerald van Wilgen

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is such an iconic children’s story that it has long eclipsed the rest of author L. Frank Baum’s extensive body of work. One year after Dorothy first followed the Yellow Brick Road, for instance, Baum published “American Fairy Tales,” a collection of 12 stories meant as a homegrown complement to familiar European tales.

“I think he may have been competing with the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, though these stories are not nearly as gruesome,” says Michelle Pauls, who is co-directing a production of three of Baum’s stories for Walking Fish Theatre’s annual holiday offering. “They’re kind of sweet and old-fashioned.”

The stories were adapted by Pauls’ co-artistic director of Walking Fish’s resident B. Someday Productions and co-director of the show, Stan Heleva. The directors discovered Baum’s stories after another of his books, “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus,” served as the inspiration for last year’s far less family-friendly Christmas show, “The Early Adventures of Santa Claus – A Yuletide Burlesque.”

The tales seemed a good fit for the theater’s intimate space and for the interactivity that they like to integrate into their family shows, which includes joining in a dance sequence, singing along with seasonal favorites and becoming the victims of (temporary) larceny during “The Box of Robbers.”

The stories chosen for the production also include “The Queen of Quok” and “The Girl Who Owned a Bear” — little-known, certainly, but not wholly unfamiliar for anyone who’s read or seen the film based on Baum’s best-known work. “In two of the stories, there are girl protagonists who are left alone by their families,” Pauls says. “They have very rich imaginations like Dorothy. You’re left wondering at the end if everything really happened or if they just dreamed it all up.”

The cast of “American Fairy Tales” includes two young alumni of Walking Fish’s Fun with Acting and Acting for Teens classes, 16-year-old Michael Trainer and 12-year-old Helen Sher. Their involvement is an aspect of the company’s efforts to reach out to the Kensington community. “Our mission is to be an arts hub for our community and to provide opportunities for creative expansion,” Pauls explains. “Part of that is to nurture younger talent. My hope is that they’ll not only have a great time but that they’ll learn what it’s like to work in professional productions, as well as be inspiring to other young people who come to see the show.”

‘American Fairy Tales’
Dec. 18-31
Walking Fish Theatre
2509 Frankford Ave.
$7-$12, 215-427-9255
www.walkingfishtheatre.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

International

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due…

U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Tel Aviv in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region has intensified.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.