Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre’s 35th Season features world premiere children’s musical “Grimm!”
This summer’s MSMT family show, opening June 17, will feature free activity workshops after every performance
This summer, Doppelskope Theatre Company bring its energetic puppetry, lively music, and interactive theatrical spirit — along with a little bit of magic — to the stories of the Brothers Grimm. Doppelskope’s world premiere children’s musical “Grimm!” will open June 17 at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.
“This piece of theater is very playful and present, drawing upon the whole company of everyone involved,” says director Ora Fruchter, who co-wrote the musical with her Doppelskope partner, Christopher Sheer. “It’s really about imagination and getting the audience to imagine along with us.”
The hour-long performance plays June 17 through July 25, Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. It is recommended for ages four and up. Audience members can stay after the show to meet the cast, and then for a free 45-minute activity workshop, featuring storytelling, movement, and crafts with the workshop team and members of the cast.
"Grimm!" offers classic fairy tales as they’ve never been told before. Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm use their Story Machine to capture daydreams and make them into fairytales, but everything goes awry when the machine breaks, releasing colorful, fuzzy stories into the world. It’s up to the audience to help the brothers rescue the stories and keep them from unraveling.
Meanwhile, Charlotte, a young girl with a wild imagination, is on her own quest to save her father from the Blue Glowing Madness. She travels through the storybook landscapes of the Grimm Brothers’ classic fairytales, including Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin.
The play emphasizes the importance of active, creative play, as well as the fun of storytelling of all sorts — encouraging families to engage in creating, recording, retelling and performing their own stories.
“Grimm!” features a script by Christopher Scheer and Ora Fruchter — the members of the Doppelskope theatre company — with music by Toby Singer and lyrics by Fruchter. The trio also collaborated to create last year’s successful world-premiere children’s musical “Gruff!” for Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. Both shows rely heavily on audience participation, inviting the children in attendance to join in creating the story.
“What we really want is to engage the audience in the storytelling process — to tell the story not just to the audience but with them,” Scheer says. “We can go so much further if we all agree to imagine together. Let’s all collaborate together and collectively create the illusion that we’re in outer space or we’re in a fairy tale realm.”
This year for the first time, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre presents free activity workshops after every performance. The workshops are designed to encourage children to explore their own family stories in a series of energetic hands-on activities that will get kids up on their feet, thinking, playing and expressing themselves. Members of the cast will join MSMT’s Workshop Team of experienced theater and movement teachers in leading storytelling, movement, and crafts. The Grimm Workshops are sponsored by Embassy Bank, Enterprise Car Rental and Highmark Blue Shield.
Participation in the Grimm Workshops is limited to allow for small group sizes, and advance registration is recommended. Parents can register their children online at muhlenberg.edu/grimm, or call the workshop team at 484-664-3695. Groups may inquire with the workshop team about bringing the workshop on-site.
“Grimm!” will be presented in two sensory-friendly performances for children with autism spectrum disorders and other sensory processing challenges. At these performances, sound levels are reduced, and startling sounds are avoided; lights remain on at a low level during performance, and strobes and other flashy lights are omitted; patrons are free to talk or leave their seats during the show; and attendance is limited. Social stories will be available in advance from the MSMT website, and the theater staff and cast will receive special training in meeting the needs of patrons with autism and sensory issues. Sensory-friendly performances will be offered Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 18 at 1 p.m. Tickets and information about these performances are available at muhlenberg.edu/grimm or at 484-664-3087.
“Grimm!” runs June 17 through July 25. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m, and Saturday at 10 a.m. only. All tickets to “Grimm!” are $10 for June performances and $12 for July performances. Tickets and information for all of the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.