Saturday, February 17, 2018
Stage

Freefall Theatre season lineup: 'White Fang,' 'The Glass Menagerie,' 'The Little Prince' and more

ST. PETERSBURG — Freefall Theatre's 10th season will feature a couple of adaptations, a Tennessee Williams classic, a musical about musicals and a children's book with mythological implications.

The season's theme, "On Second Glance — Familiar Stories, New Perspectives," will encompass familiar tales presented in a new light and some hidden gems.

"These are all stories from our past that we're looking at in the context of our modern world," producing artistic director Eric Davis told patrons at Freefall's fundraising event last week at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The season opens with a world premiere of British playwright Jethro Compton's adaptation of White Fang (Sept. 29-Oct. 22), about a wolf-dog hybrid conscripted to pull a sled. The title figure in Jack London's novel comes to life with state-of-the-art puppetry similar to Broadway's War Horse, Davis said. Compton will workshop and direct his play, then take it to a theater in London.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, adapted by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar, fits the holiday bill (Nov. 24-Dec. 24). "It's a great example of beautiful art rising out of the ashes of war," Davis said of the story, which was inspired by the German invasion of France.

A not-so-hidden gem comes next, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (Jan. 26-Feb. 18). "We have yet to do one of these great American 20th-century classics in one of our seasons," Davis said, "and so The Glass Menagerie is the perfect choice for our first outing in that."

Fans of The Light in the Piazza, Freefall's most romantic production this season, should enjoy the musical Daddy Long Legs (March 16-April 8), Davis said. The Cinderella story about an orphan's journey through a women's college started with a 1912 novel by Jean Webster and was kept alive in a 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire. Daddy Long Legs comes from the Tony-winning director of Les Misérables and the creators of Broadway's Jane Eyre.

A stage version of Animal Farm (May 4-27, 2018), George Orwell's acidic allegory of the Stalinist Soviet Union, comes next.

"George Orwell's work is always topical, but he's been rising in charts again recently," Davis said, a line that evoked laughter. The theater is still determining which of the available adaptations it will use.

The season ends with The Musical of Musicals — the Musical! (June 22-July 15, 2018), a tongue-in-cheek look at the genre.

The theater also announced a partnership with Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg, which offers free tuition to promising fifth- through eighth-grade students. Freefall will provide the theater education for students.

"It is our hope that we can develop this program with Academy Prep and then expand that to lots of at-risk kids all over Pinellas County," Freefall executive director Cheryl Forchilli said.

Contact Andrew Meacham at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

 
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