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.