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Published: Thursday, 8/16/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Love is tested in Young Rep production

BY JULIE NJAIM
BLADE STAFF WRITER
From left, Alexis Abou-Arraj, Johnathon Crawford, Emma Koralewski, and Kathryn Riddle in a scene from the Young Rep production of 'Once on this Island, Jr.' From left, Alexis Abou-Arraj, Johnathon Crawford, Emma Koralewski, and Kathryn Riddle in a scene from the Young Rep production of 'Once on this Island, Jr.'
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What happens when Romeo and Juliet meet the Little Mermaid?

They come together as the Toledo Repertoire Theatre Young Rep production of Once on this Island Jr., opening Thursday on its 10th Street Stage.

"It was written originally as an adaptation of The Little Mermaid, but it's very different. I think it's more like Romeo and Juliet, said director Shauna Newbold.

On this island there is a division between the peasants and the rich. Alexis Abou-Arraj, as Ti Moune, is a young island girl led by gods on a journey to test the "strength of her love against prejudices, hatred, and death," Newbold said. "It's the ultimate question: 'Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?'" Her love interest is Daniel, played by Max Lay.   

"It's really deep. It has adult emotions and maturity, but the kids handle it in such a mature way, you forget they're kids." The young cast of 42 ranging from age 6 to 13 is embracing the deep themes and rising to the challenge of presenting it without being overly dramatic, she said.

"It's really astounding. We have a high caliber of talent, and we hold them to very high standards. Some of these kids take voice lessons throughout the year for this show," Newbold said. "This dives into the heart of musical theater and live performances and draws the audience into the characters they are portraying."

"Once on this Island Jr." will be performed at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, and Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, 16 10th St.. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Information: 419-243-9277 or toledorep.org.

Music and comedy

SANDUSKY -- Sandusky State Theatre audiences will step back to the 1930s this weekend in the dinner theater production of Annie The Musical and then have their spirits lifted Wednesday when A Night of Comedy comes to the State Room.

The young red-headed orphan keeps her chin up and her spirits high as she warms her way into Daddy Warbucks' heart and away from the less-than-pleasant Miss Hannigan.

Annie opens Nov. 8 at the Palace Theatre for its second Broadway revival. It originally opened in April, 1977, and closed in January, 1983, after 2,377 performances. It won seven 1977 Tony Awards including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.

It's noteworthy score includes "It's the Hard-Knock Life," "Tomorrow," "Maybe," and "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here."

Comedians Steve Poggi and The Fryman will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the State Room.

Poggi is a self-proclaimed wild card whose performance can be clean, dirty, or off-the-cuff. The Fryman is a 20-year stage veteran whose act could include personal stories about his bad luck with women, his time in the Marines, or his run-ins with the police. He has performed in more than 250 cities throughout the nation.

"Annie the Musical" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, and Saturday at Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Dinner and Show tickets are $33 for adults and $30 for students. Show tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students. Doors open at 6:30.

"A Night of Comedy" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the State Room. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. Information: 419-626-1950 or www.sanduskystate.com.

Broadway night

20 North Gallery will present 15 songs from popular Disney musicals this weekend in Broadway in the City: Stylings of Disney on its North St. Clair Street stage.

The cabaret-style show includes songs from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White, Lady & The Tramp, and Pinocchio under the musical direction of Jared Dorotiak and accompanied by Will Kinsey.

"Broadway in the City: Stylings of Disney" will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at 20 North Gallery, 18 N. St. Clair St. Tickets are $20 and include an appetizer buffet. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time. Information: 419-241-2400.

Please send theater items at least two weeks in advance to jnjaim@theblade.com



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