Matchbox to perform ‘Rapunzel & the Witch’Published 11:09am Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The Matchbox Children’s Theatre is putting a new twist on a well-known tale this week.
Matchbox will perform “Rapunzel & the Witch” at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Paramount Theatre, 125 Fourth Ave. NE.
Many people will initially think of Disney’s “Tangled,” where Rapunzel is a princess and the witch uses the girl as a means to stay young and beautiful. This is not that story.
“I think it’s a title that people will recognize. They just have to keep an open mind that it’s not ‘Tangled,’” said Director Susan Hansen, a Riverland Community College theater and English instructor.
In “Rapunzel & the Witch,” Rapunzel is the daughter of peasants who live near the witch. Instead of beauty, this version of the witch is after more power.
While not a princess, Hansen said Rapunzel still maintains many of the same character traits: She’s very sweet, loving, a kind person and a good friend. Despite being raised by the wicked witch, Rapunzel retains enough human instincts to resist evil spells with the help of mysterious friends in the enchanted garden.
“I hope that it leaves people with the idea that no matter what threats or evil forces face us, we can triumph with a loving heart, courage and the help of friends,” Hansen said in a press release.
This version of the Rapunzel story weaves together magic and suspense. While there are a few spooky moments, Hansen said there’s plenty of comedy.
“It’s funnier than you would think it would be,” she said.
Along with a few scary moments, Hansen said the play may be a bit long for extremely young children, as it’s about an hour and 20 minutes. The scary moments are mainly spells cast by the witch, but the lights don’t go off in the theater.
Hansen said her cast of adults and high school students from around the area will put on a strong show.
“The performers have been great,” she said.
The cast includes adult actors like Angela Donovan and Randy Forster as Rapunzel’s parents and Lia Culbert as the crafty witch.
“This will be my first time playing a truly old, witchy, mean character on the MCT stage and it’s very exciting,” Culbert said in the release. “It’s a challenge to find that balance between scary and funny.”
Hansen said Culbert found that balance. While the witch is a villain, Hansen said Culbert’s performance makes for a likable and enjoyable to watch, but devious.
Culbert, who performed with Matchbox growing up, admitted her character has a wicked side.
“I don’t think too many little kids will be lining up to meet me after the play, though,” Culbert said in the release.
Kayla Byram will play the title role of Rapunzel and has been in several MCT productions.
Peter Torkelson will play Prince Eric, who uses his wits and strength to overcome the witch and save Rapunzel, plus reunite with his long lost parents played by Morgan Wills and Ted King.
Matt King plays the Magic Stone.
While “Rapunzel & the Witch” is Hansen’s first time directing a Matchbox production, she’s no stranger to the theater company. She performed in several Matchbox plays as a Austin Community College student. After many years away from Matchbox, she returned to play a witch in “The Unwicked Witch.”
“I have a really strong appreciation for what matchbox has been doing for all these years,” she said.
Hansen recently directed “The Philadelphia Story” for the Riverland Theatre program. She has also directed for Star Light Star Bright Theatre, Mankato State University and Morikami Park School.
Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for children 14 and younger, and free for children age 2 and younger. Tickets are sold at the door and advance tickets are available at Hy-Vee Customer Service and Paramount Theatre Box Office. The Box Office opens one hour before show time.