Reviews are coming in:
“[Andersen] can’t just click his Red Shoes together three times to get home, but keeps stumbling into adventures inspired by the passionate, even erotically-tinged tales yet to come. The pining Little Mermaid and icy Snow Queen are authentic products of Andersen’s psyche, granting a strange dramatic integrity to the journey.
Emotional underpinnings are provided by songwriter Schwartz’s ecstatic “On the Wings of a Swan” and two of his most stirring ensemble numbers in years, “Stay with Us” and “Can You Imagine That?”
While id bubbles beneath the stories’ surface, there’s also much eye-popping fun, Alejo Vietti’s lavish costumes set against Tom Buderwitz’s parchment-paper floor and backdrop. Sequences are pleasingly color-coded — a ravishing blue-green wash for “The Little Mermaid”; Halloween orange and black for marauding robbers — and puppet designer Emily DeCola provides outsized poultry who menace the Ugly Duckling in a calico-infused barnyard, and a darling saucer-eyed pooch.
“The scenes that director Scott Schwartz and his cast and crew have created for this trip inside Andersen’s mind consistently thrill and delight with movement, music, and drama.[...] As Lind, and then as a succession of characters including a delightful wind-up princess and even the Little Mermaid, Lesley McKinnell is superb, singing brilliantly and giving just the right Glinda-like touch of sparkling wit to her many incarnations. [...] Scenic designer Tom Buderwitz and costume designer Alejo Vietti have both achieved something very memorable with this tour-de-force production, and their work is amplified in its reach by the marvelous addition of Emily DeCola’s puppets, which are deployed throughout by the ensemble, working both singly and in pairs to manipulate the long rods that animate the many fascinating creatures called forth by the journey.
Schwartz (Wicked) is in fine form throughout as composer, lending his masterful command of the 21st-century Broadway idiom that he virtually invented to the task of bringing Andersen’s creations to life. The final song of Act One, “On the Wings of a Swan,” and the opening number of Act Two, the Little Mermaid’s “Come Drown in My Love,” are particularly memorable, and seem destined to be sung wherever aspiring musical performers are found.”
“Fairytales are not insubstantial things,” said Mark Booher, artistic director of PCPA Theaterfest in Santa Maria. “The stories that we learn in our youth become the lens through which we view the world.”
That’s especially true of the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen, the legendary Danish author of “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Princess and the Pea.” A contemporary of Charles Dickens and the Brothers Grimm, Andersen wrote more than 150 fairytales that Booher said have become part of our collective consciousness.
Andersen’s life and work are the focus of “My Fairytale,” which celebrates its American premiere later this month at Solvang Festival Theater. The PCPA Theaterfest production features music and lyrics by celebrated Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, whose credits include “Godspell,” “Pippin” and “Wicked.”
“Stephen Schwartz is … a living legend,” cast member Lesley McKinnell said.