In Charles Way's offbeat Sleeping Beauty, the princess is no cream puff, a half-human dragon is a smart aleck and the prince is a regular guy.
FreeFall Theatre opens the Celtic-flavored play this weekend in Tampa with Aleshea Harris as Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty). Other cast members include Chris Jackson as Prince Owain, Jessica Alexander as Queen Guinivere, Meg Heimstead as Modron and Paul Potenza as Gryff.
This is freeFall's second production, following The Wild Party, which was given a stellar production last fall in St. Petersburg. Way's family fairy tale is completely different from the raunchy musical by Michael John LaChiusa.
"I wanted to do something that was a huge contrast to The Wild Party,'' director Eric Davis says. "Something that wasn't a musical, something that any age could come to, but with the same high standard.''
Sleeping Beauty is a two-act play running about 90 minutes, including intermission, and is suitable for all ages. It opens Friday and runs through March 29 at the TECO Theater of Patel Conservatory at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday. $18-$24 ($60 family four-pack for select performances). (813) 229-7827; tbpac.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic