Delaware Theater Spotlight

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wake Me When I'm Sixteen at The Delaware Children's Theatre

So often in the arts, theatres will try to update a well known story by placing it in a different time period. Most often, we see stylized productions of Shakespeare plays such as Macbeth set in the 1940s, or A Midsummer Night's Dream in the 1970s. It wasn't until I saw Wake Me When I'm Sixteen: The Sleeping Beauty Story that I thought this concept could apply to fairy tales as well. Many times, this device doesn't work. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen an "updated" Shakespeare play that doesn't fall short. The Delaware Children's Theatre, however, pulls it off quite nicely.

In this version of Sleeping Beauty, written and directed by Donna Swajeski and music and lyrics by Gregg Opelka, Princess Aurora (Karalyn Joseph) and Rapunzel (Kierstin Anderson) are best friends, and they're about to have Aurora's 16th birthday party. Of course, you can't have a princess birthday party without live entertainment, so the royal family hires DJ Jazzy Jester (Kenn Koubek) to plan the entire shindig. DJ Jazzy Jester reminded me a bit of Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games movies. Among the bands that are auditioning for the party is of course The Troubadors, a boy band made up of princes.

The show is very clever with a lot of imagination and heart, and the kids in the audience are certainly enthralled in the magic happening on stage. The three fairy godmothers, Bedazzle (Danielle Alura), Bewilda (Jamie Harris DiMaio), and Belittle (Gaea Lawton) embrace their glittery goodness, especially the firecracker Belittle. Replacing Disney's Maleficent in this version of Sleeping Beauty is Bewara (Kat Pigliacampi), who is part Wicked Witch of the West, part Maleficent, and all fantastic.

The music in this production is simple, but very catchy, and showcases the fantastic voices of Princess Aurora (Karalyn Joseph), and the two princes after her heart, Prince Chance (Felipe Rochas), and Prince Rafe (Gianni Palmarini). It's very easy to forget that most of the actors on stage are very young.

While Wake Me When I'm Sixteen: The Sleeping Beauty Story is geared towards children and pre-teens, I found it very enjoyable as an adult. It also teaches a few very good lessons. And a little tip: if you come in costume, you'll get to join the Princess Parade at intermission!

Wake Me When I'm Sixteen: The Sleeping Beauty Story runs on weekends at the Delaware Children's Theatre until May 4th. For tickets, call 302-655-1014 or visit

Posted at 11:34am on April 14, 2014 by

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