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The Hylton Performing Arts Center Presents "Peter and the Wolf"
The Pushcart Players present 'Peter and the Wolf'
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BY COLLETTE CAPRARA
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Parents might be surprised to hear that their children will be delighted to spend a weekend afternoon getting familiar with the sounds of oboes, French horns, and clarinets. This is sure to happen when the Pushcart Players' production of "Peter and the Wolf" comes Saturday to the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
In fact, that's exactly what Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev had in mind when he composed the symphony in the 1930s to introduce his own children to the magical power of classical music. Prokofiev used various instruments to denote the unique personality and movement of the characters he brought to life in the tale he wove. During the show's prologue, soft-sculpture members of the orchestra will "play" the various instruments that represent the characters.
As the story unfolds, young Peter enjoys the bucolic setting of his grandfather's cottage and finds company in three forest companions: a duck named Clara, a bird named Sasha and a cat named Yofi. He wants to comply with his grandfather's warning to stay within the garden wall, but his carefree sense of adventure beckons him beyond and into the woods. It's there that the three friends are confronted by the dreaded hungry wolf, and in an instant, Clara is swallowed whole into his belly.
Peter rises to the challenge of the rescue and devises a plan to free his friend.
Although the story was originally performed solely by an orchestra with a narrator, the production at the Hylton Center was fine-tuned for a young audience by Pushcart Players co-founder and established actress Ruth Fost. She developed the dialogue for the characters, incorporated additional music written by Tony Award-winner Larry Hochman, and serves as the show's director.
Pushcart Players was founded nearly 40 years ago as a professional touring ensemble with a mission of introducing children to high-quality theatrical productions and art-education programs. Since then, it has enthralled hundreds of young audiences throughout the United States, the former Soviet Union and the Czech Republic, performing in venues ranging from our nation's most-renowned performing-arts centers to small, remote schoolhouses.
"It is fulfilling to bring programming into the schools, where all grades and children from the entire community have an opportunity to experience a live performance," said Fost.
"Live theater is immediate, personal and compelling, and there is a sense that it is being performed just for you. Each performance is unique and special for that particular audience and cast, with built-in excitement and communication," she said. "Children who experience 'Peter and the Wolf" may take away a message about friendship and meeting challenges, and be inspired to explore a topic, read a book, go to a concert or museum--or see another live performance!"
Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.
WHAT: "Peter and the Wolf" WHERE: The Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. COST: $5 children, $15 adults INFO: 888/945-2468; HyltonCenter.org