News Column

'Li'l Red' puts a modern, musical spin on a classic tale [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

June 18, 2013


"Li'l Red" is not exactly the Brothers Grimm's storybook version of "Little Red Riding Hood."

In Richard Kinter's modern adaptation of the classic fairytale, which opens the summer season for Johnny Appleseed Children's Theatre at Apple Hill Playhouse, the wolf that frightened the little girl on her way to see her grandma is more "cool dude" than scary animal.

"I think the audiences are going to love the fun characters the actors have created," says Andy Meholick of Dubois, who directs the show. "The set and costumes are fantastic, and the Wolf and Granny are too funny."

In this musical version of the story, the wolf wears funny disguises and Kinter's Little Red Riding Hood character, Li'l Red, has a terrible time finding her way through the forest to her Granny's house because she has misplaced her glasses.

Faith Milburn, an 11th-grade student at Greensburg Salem High School, portrays Rose Bluebelle Chatter, aka "Li'l Red," in the Apple Hill production.

"She is pretty much blind without her glasses on, which causes some trouble throughout the story," she says. "The biggest challenge that I have faced so far is trying to act blind on stage."

Milburn says Rose is a smart but sometimes gullible young girl with a great sense of humor, personality traits that she also shares.

"Li'l Red" is her first community-theater performance. She has performed in middle- and high-school productions of "High School Musical Jr.," "Camp Rock Jr.," "West Side Story" and "Footloose."

Meholick says the music in "Li'l Red," led by music director Rob Stull, is exceptional, with fun songs such as "Little Red Cape With a Hood," "Don't Take the Shortcut" and "Something's Very Wrong Here." The show also offers a serious message about a little girl who has grown up in a single-parent home and wants her mother to be happy.

"I am very proud of this production. I think it is a great start for the season at Apple Hill," the director says.

A May graduate of Seton Hill University with a theater- performance degree, Meholick performed in nine mainstage productions and co-directed "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" for Seton Hill's Student Theater Activities Council. He is a house manager for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Benedum Center and Byham Theatre and will be teaching at Apple Hill's music camps this summer.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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