A few alterations on `The Emperor's New Clothes'



Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers put on two shows each academic year that typically have been recognized for the quality of students' performance and for superior costuming and sets, also largely the product of student efforts.

The Troupers hope to continue that tradition with their musical comedy adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes, which opens today at 7:30 p.m. at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for the Performing Arts.

The current production is an updated The Emperor's New Clothes as told in music by Allan Jay Friedman with lyrics by Paul Webster, who takes a few new turns in the telling of a young prince who disguises himself as a commoner to win over a modest princess.

While in disguise, the prince and princess, with the help of servants, royal counselors and townspeople, plot to turn the emperor away from his selfish ways.

At a rehearsal this week, director Jerry Vess said: "This play was the first I did in college where I had to sing. I selected it because this show is a good starting point for young college actors."

Noting that this musical gives some interesting twists on Andersen's classic fairy tale, Vess added, "In this show young people have a chance to be classical types - you can be a bad guy, a good guy, which makes this show a good teaching tool."

Although the show works well as a teaching vehicle, Vess assures, "This is a play to appeal to everyone. It has a strong vaudeville flavor, a nice love story and some good songs."

Composer Friedman is also the creator of other musical fairytale adaptations such as Rapunzel and Pinocchio and Mounette, along with such young people's musicals as Winnie the Pooh and The Hobbitt. He composed the 1955 Academy Award-winning song "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing," but Friedman ranks as "at least the equal" the climactic love song "Your Face" from Emperor's score. Also from this score is the enigmatic wit of lyricist Webster's "Nothing Can Be Something," touted as combining humor and wisdom that match Hans Christian Andersen's.

At rehearsal, members of AACC's Moonlight Troupers cast looked convincingly at home in their roles and in their colorful costumes.

The cast of 18 AACC students include Joel Loukus of Glen Burnie as the emperor; Brendan Leahy of Arnold as his adviser, Lord Mal; Eric Langenstein of Pasadena as the disguised prince; and Kristina Tardiff of Annapolis as the princess. Angela Miller of Pasadena plays the empress and Andre Hinds-Miller of Severn plays the constable. Townspeople and servants include Kimberly Sonntag of Annapolis; Samantha Nelson of Crofton; Dena Colvin and Justin Van Hassel of Glen Burnie; and Courtney Butler of Pasadena. Players from Severna Park include Brandon Dietrick, Cathy Ludwig and Rachel Parker.

The production crew includes set designer and technical director Rob Berry, with Chelsea Adams serving as assistant technical director, Torri Hokanson as stage manager, Amanda Taylor is choreographer and Marsha Goldsmith is vocal coach and music director.

Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for seniors and groups and $6 for AACC students and employees and children 3 to 12.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today and on April 20, 21 and 22 with additional performances at 2 p.m. tomorrow and on April 22 and 23 at Pascal Center for Performing Arts on the Arnold Campus. Call the box office at 410-777-2457 to reserve seats.

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