So as most of you know, I am writing the book and lyrics for a new musical called ROSE RED. It's based on an old Norske legend made famous by the Brothers Grimm. We had a story book of it when I was a kid, and I can still see the illustration of the ungrateful dwarf in the story, struggling to get his beard free from a tree stump in which it had been inexplicably stuck. I never could figure out how his beard got in there. It just didn't make sense. But I digress.

So, it was April, and I had agreed to write a musical with Kari Kraakevik based on Rose Red and Snow White. In short order, I needed to take a short fairy tale with five characters and expand it into a full length play, with at least 20 characters. The original story is pretty short: two sisters, Rose Red, who is sort of wild,  and Snow White, who is very domestic, live with their mother in the woods. One day, they meet a dwarf who is always getting into trouble- like having his beard stuck in a tree trunk- and they always help him out. He never thanks them for their help. In fact, he's mean to them after they help- calling them dullards and slugs and other nasty things like that. The girls also meet a bear who asks if he can come in from the cold and sleep in their house. They say okay, and become friends. One day, the girls find the dwarf being threatened by their bear friend. They decide not to help the dwarf anymore because he's been so mean. The bear kills the dwarf, and turns out to be a prince whom the dwarf had enchanted into being a bear. The prince marries Snow White, and from out of nowhere, the prince's brother appears and marries Rose Red. End of story. I never liked that ending.

I decide we need to change the bear to a wolf. I have always loved wolves. I'm not sure why. I just do. In fact, back when my main focus was being an actor, whenever I had to put a bio in a program, I'd say I was raised by wolves in Northern California. This came about because of a joke my sister Heather played once. She was directing me in a production of A Christmas Carol at Expanded Arts on the Lower East Side of NYC, and bios were due for the program. I hadn't written one, so she took it on herself to write mine, and she included the line "raised by wolves in Northern California." I liked it, and the line became part of my standard bio.

So the bear became a wolf. I call him the Wolf Prince. And why stop at one wolf? I figured, if he has a brother, shouldn't he be a wolf, too? And not just a wolf, but a more forbidding, semi-evil one. Now, when I was in fourth grade or so, I read a book called "The Wolf King" by Ann Turnbull. It was all about this boy in a village long ago who goes off to fight the evil Wolf King, who in the end turns out to be his brother. At least, that's how I remember the plot through the foggy ruins of time. So I create a Wolf King for our story- a dark character who rides in the night and is not to be trifled with.

So that's 6 characters down. Next, time to blow the plot up, see what happens.

More on that next time.

Performances of ROSE RED are set for December 14th at 7pm, December 15 at 2pm and 7pm, and December 16 at 2pm. All performances are at Actors Academy for the Performing Arts 5311 Western Ave.  Boulder, CO 80301. For more information and/or tix, call 303-245-8150 or email info@theaterforkids.net. We also have a facebook page for the show:


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