Elementary school children might appreciate Aladdin and the Glass Slipper for the lessons that each character learns and the dialogue's in-jokes about familiar fairy tales. But preschoolers will probably get a kick out of the bouncy songs, festive costumes and action scenes that stand in sharp -- and welcome -- relief to the wordy byplay.
This entertaining fable, currently playing at the Arvada Center's outdoor amphitheater, tells how Aladdin, one-time discoverer of a lamp that held a wish-granting genie, meets Cinderella, famed scullery maid turned princess. Written and directed by David and Julie Payne, with lyrics by Julie Payne and music by Todd Roberts, the fifty-minute pastiche is performed against a backdrop of spooky-looking trees, Arabian-style tents and a ramshackle peddler's wagon (Joan Cimyotte designed the setting). As the play begins, we learn that Cinderella has lost both of her slippers, prompting her fairy godmother to make a deal with a crooked genie: If he'll find her a substitute pair of glass shoes, she'll somehow find his long-lost lamp, which is a vessel of magical power. Naturally, each of the story's five characters, including two wayward adolescents named Taffeta and Chintz, wants something that someone else doesn't want to let go of -- a situation that makes for a couple of amusing chase scenes and, ultimately, several surprises.
Aladdin and the Glass Slipper
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, in the outdoor amphitheater, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard
Through August 2, 303-431-3939
Looking for profound meaning in this story is about as useful as trying to discern if there's something beneath a cruise-ship singer's bubbly demeanor: There is, but it's limited and obvious. So it's better to simply take in the sights and sounds, enjoy the occasionally amusing one-liners and appreciate the experience through the eyes and ears of a young companion. Even if he or she makes that unmistakable tug on your sleeve that means you'll both be leaving for a few necessary minutes, the easy-to-follow plot -- and the capable quintet of Jeffrey Atherton, Jim Hunt, Sheila Swanson McIntyre, Debbie Schwartz and Christopher Willard -- make for a pleasant, laid-back morning at the theater.
As the actors wind things up with a song, the simple message about appearance and reality resonates well enough. After the show, there's an opportunity to meet the cast in the amphitheater's open plaza. Older children have some serious questions for the actors, which they patiently and cheerfully answer; younger ones, full of wonderment, merely stand and look at the costumed creatures who, however temporarily, have succeeded in transporting them to another world. Both are hopeful, encouraging sights to behold.