Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC, puts a distinctly folky mountain spin on a classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale Dec. 1-22 with the world premiere of Snow Queen by founding artistic director Preston Lane, with original music by singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett.
With this “Appalachian adventure,” as the work is billed, Lane and Dossett continue building a catalog of music-kissed stage works that draw on rich storytelling and cultural traditions of the greater Appalachian region — the spine of mountains that curves down the U.S. east coast and includes western North Carolina, parts of Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and beyond. Lane and Dossett previously collaborated on Brother Wolf, Beautiful Star, Bloody Blackbeard and Providence Gap. Opening night is Dec. 6, following previews.
Here’s how Triad bills Snow Queen: “When a young boy disappears on a winter’s day in the heart of Appalachia, his best friend sets out to bring him home. So begins a journey through snow and ice, leaving the everyday world behind, as a magical wintertime path leads deeper into a frozen kingdom. Inspired by the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, this world premiere adventure for audiences of all ages transports the story to the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge. Snow Queen weaves music, magic and make believe to celebrate the courage of a brave young girl.”
Lane said in a statement, “We explored what it is for a young girl to go off on a journey. To step into the woods and find a world of magic incorporating traditional folklore of the Appalachian region — not just the folklore of the Scottish and Irish heritage of the mountains but also Native American folklore.”
(Coincidentally, “Frozen,” Disney’s new 2013 animated musical film, is also based on Anderson’s 1845 story “The Snow Queen.” The tale has also been adapted for the stage in versions throughout the world, including a musical retelling directed and co-written by Frank Galati in Chicago in the past decade.)
The Triad cast includes Gayton Scott (Triad’s New Music, Broadway’s Gypsy, Off-Broadway’s Abigail’s Party) as The Story Weaver, Emily Gardner Hall (Triad Stage debut) as the Snow Queen, 12-year old Autumn Routt (A Christmas Carol) as Gertie and 10-year old Nick Saunders (Triad Stage debut) as Cade, with an ensemble playing over 20 characters: Scott Pattison (My Fair Lady), Amy Hamel (Tennessee Playboy), Cinny Strickland (Steel Magnolias, Providence Gap, Beautiful Star) and Dori Legg (Triad Stage debut).
The creative team includes scenic designer Howard C. Jones (Triad’s My Fair Lady, New Music, Around the World in 80 Days), costume and puppet designer Bill Brewer (Triad’s Wait Until Dark, Kingdom of Earth, Trouble in Mind, The Illusion), lighting designer Laura J. Eckelman (Triad Stage debut), sound designer David E. Smith (Triad’s Tennessee Playboy, Trouble in Mind, The Illusion, A Doll House), dramaturg Bryan Conger, resident vocal coach Christine Morris, resident movement director Denise Gabriel. Cindi Rush is the casting director. The stage manager is Emily J. Mails.
Triad presents Snow Queen at its three-quarter thrust mainstage, The Pyrle Theater, which was created in a former department store building on Greensboro’s traditional retail drag, South Elm Street. All Triad Stage productions are created using local and national talent. Learn more about the history of Greensboro’s major Equity theatre.
Triad Stage’s 2013-14 MainStage Season continues in 2014 with Anna Christie by Eugene O’Neill; the country-fried musical revue, Pump Boys and Dinettes, by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann; and, in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, All’s Well that Ends Well.
On Dec. 10, Triad Stage launches an inaugural season of discrete programming at a satellite home in Winston-Salem at the Hanesbrand Theatre. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Preston Lane, will play to Dec. 22). It will be followed by Red by John Logan (Feb.11-23, 2014); and the revival of the Lane-Dossett Triad Stage favorite, Brother Wolf, an Appalachian re-telling of Beowulf (May 6-18, 2014). Learn more about Triad’s new Winston-Salem arm.
For more information, visit the official website at triadstage.org.