FAM­ILY STAGE

Calgary Herald - - NEIGHBOURS - KATH­LEEN RENNE

Hilary Horn­berger and Stephanie Fow­ers’s mu­si­cal cre­ation The Raven is set to bring Edgar Al­lan Poe’s fa­mous poem of the same name to life on the lo­cal stage.

“We both kind of like his gothic, dark themes,” says Horn­berger of why they chose The Raven as their in­spi­ra­tion.

The duo cre­ated a mu­si­cal that in­vents a back­ground story to the poem, iden­ti­fy­ing the raven’s iden­tity and why it con­tin­ues to re­peat “Nev­er­more.”

In the poem, a young man is pin­ing for his lost love, Lenore, when a raven comes rap­ping at his win­dow. The dis­traught lover asks the raven ques­tions about life and death and if he’ll ever see Lenore again. The only an­swer the raven ever pro­vides is “Nev­er­more,” which slowly drives the young man into mad­ness.

In cre­at­ing their mu­si­cal, Fow­ers and Horn­berger did not take a bi­o­graph­i­cal ap­proach, bas­ing their nar­ra­tive on Poe’s own life.

In­stead, their story in­volves a curse that is placed upon the young man, whom they name Edgar. The curse sep­a­rates him from the girl to whom he was be­trothed as a child, Raine. Fur­ther­more, the curse pre­vents Edgar from touch­ing any­one, so he with­draws into him­self.

“We are in­ter­ested in sci-fi and fan­tasy, so we thought it would be an in­ter­est­ing take on a mu­si­cal, be­cause not many mu­si­cals go in that di­rec­tion,” Horn­berger says.

Add some death hunters to the mix, Edgar’s fop­pish friend, Ru­fus, a high-so­ci­ety book­worm named Effy who falls in love with one of the death hunters, as well as a host of other folks who com­prise the cast of 30, and you have The Raven.

Horn­berger, who has writ­ten the mu­sic and lyrics, says The Raven en­com­passes a va­ri­ety of mu­si­cal styles from rock ‘n roll and to gospel to big, belt­ing bal­lads.

Two staged read­ings of The Raven will take place April 6 in the Cardel The­atre (180 Quarry Park Blvd. S.E.).

Tick­ets and in­for­ma­tion: Ther- aven-mu­si­cal.com.

For a much dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, look no fur­ther than Sto­ry­book The­atre’s Freck­le­face Straw­berry: The Mu­si­cal, based on the book by ac­tress Ju­lianne Moore.

While Sto­ry­book is billing the mu­si­cal for the three- to six-year- old set, di­rec­tor Kathryn Kerbes says “The theme of the show takes it eas­ily through to age 12.”

Adds mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Hal Kerbes: “We al­ways set out to en­ter­tain a fam­ily, from the lit­tle tod­dlers who can en­joy the cos­tumes to the too-cool-for-school 11-yearolds to mom and dad who can en­joy the odd dou­ble en­ten­dre.”

The cen­tral char­ac­ter is a lit­tle girl who has red hair and freck­les. Her class­mates tease her, call­ing her Freck­le­face Straw­berry. Mor­ti­fied and sad, she tries to hide from her friends by wear­ing a ski mask to school. Sud­denly, her friends re­al­ize they really miss her when they can’t see her. And we have a happy end­ing. Kerbes also ex­plains the mu­sic in Freck­le­face Straw­berry of­fers an “homage” to many styles of mu­sic. “The mu­sic is very up­beat,” he says.

Freck­le­face Straw­berry runs from April 5 to 21 in the Bed­ding­ton Heights Com­mu­nity Arts Cen­tre (375 Ber­muda Dr. N.W.).

Tick­ets and in­for­ma­tion: sto­ry­book­the­atre.org or 403-216-0808.

For Neigh­bours

Sto­ry­book The­atre is pre­sent­ing Freck­le­face Straw­berry: The Mu­si­cal from April 5 to 21. The play is billed for three- to six-year-olds, but its theme will be mean­ing­ful to 12-year-olds as well.

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