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EVSPA awakens "Sleeping Beauty"

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

Students from the Eastern Virginia Schools for the Performing Arts are teaming up with professional actors for a performance of “Sleeping Beauty” Saturday at the Kimball Theatre.

“It’s a classic tale,” said director and EVSPA founder Ron Boucher. “I find as a director, I am very happy that I have had the opportunity to work with some of the people that I’ve trained and seasoned for these roles.”

Many of the student performers are among the older children involved at the school, getting ready to go off to college or launch their careers. Younger students are also involved in smaller roles. Boucher said the production’s lead, professional actress Isabella Mortiz, “epitomizes the Disney look of a princess, vocally and physically.”

The EVSPA version is based on writer Jim Eiler’s adaptation of the story, with music by Eiler and Jeanne Bargy. They garnered attention for their unique and humorous updates to the likes of “Cinderella,” “Pinocchio” and “Alice in Wonderland,” in addition to “Sleeping Beauty” during the 1960s. CBS produced the works as Emmy Award-winning television specials.

“Jim had this comedic, tongue-in-cheek tilt to a classic tale,” said Boucher, a friend of Eiler’s when he was alive. “I think for that reason, it has made them even more timely because everyone loves a comedy.”

Boucher said he hopes the performance serves as quality, family-friendly entertainment in a world where that can be hard to find.

“They also might look at the world a little lighter in a time where everything looks so heavy,” he said.

Want to go?

“Sleeping Beauty” rises 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kimball Theatre. Tickets are $22 for adults or $17 for children younger than 12, available by calling 229-8535.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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