February 9, 2013

Review: Casa's 'Rapunzel! Rapunzel!'

There’s plenty of merriment to go around in Casa Mañana Theatre's production of Rapunzel.

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If you’re having a bad day, or worse, a bad HAIR day, nothing will cheer you up like Casa’s production of Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale Cursed with a name that won't rhyme with anything, a name that calls to mind similar-sounding words like Ra-pulsive (that actress Alison Hodgson sings about in the delightful "What’s In A Name?"), beautiful Rapunzel is locked in a tower by her evil/fabulous aunt Lady Za Za (Heather Botts) in an attempt to stymie her rightful ascension to the throne. With an enchanted necklace and a love for Extreme Hair Makeovers, Lady Za Za finally gets what’s coming to her from the charming/vain Sir Roderick (Jordan Miller) and his hairdresser-cum-knightly-sidekick Edgar (Tanner Lee Hanley).

Throw in a lovable dragon (Socrates, played by Greg Dulcie) and a scene-stealing Gypsy Woman (Stefanie Tovar), and there’s plenty of merriment to go around in director Jeremy Dumont’s production of Rapunzel.

What Parents Will Like: With lots of adult humor and pop culture references stuck in like well placed bobby pins, Rapunzel will surprise you with asides about American Idol, Princess Leah, and even Raisinettes. My favorite was the sly musical tribute to West Side Story. See if you catch it. You’ll also get a kick out of the production effects. And as always, you will appreciate the talent level of the cast and of the crisp technical crew.

What Kids Will Like: When you walk into the theater to find your seats, you and your kids will find yourselves in an enchanted land. Birds chirp as eerie, magical music plays. A pink haze engulfs the theater and enhances the beautiful set design by Katie Dill. (Most of the action takes place on the surface of a giant storybook lying open on the stage. Just TRY not being preoccupied with wondering when an actor will finally turn their ankle in the book’s center crease. That’s a form of dark entertainment in and of itself. Spoiler alert: it never happened, at least not on opening night.)

All the little girls in the audience who came dressed as princesses seemed to be instantly at home. So did their mothers, many of whom were sporting tiaras themselves. But boys will like the show too: swords, dragons, and the ultimate hair-pulling scene that every third-grader could only dream about.

Good to Know: I often reference my 5-year-old in these reviews because he is very sensitive to loud noises/drastic lighting, and these are the things Casa does with gusto. Most kids love it. Mine has to be left in the lobby. Sometimes dialog is easy to miss, so it might be a good idea to give your kids the context of the story beforehand.

All In All: Rapunzel! Rapunzel! is a must-do for a mommy-daughter date or a daddy-daughter date. Or let down your hair with the whole family and see if you don’t get caught up in an Aqua-Net of enchantment.

Show Info: Runs through February 24. Visit

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