It’s a new take on an old tale.
To start its 2013-2014 Children’s Stage season, Steel Beam Theatre will present a musical-comedy version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The show runs Sept. 14 to Oct. 6 at the theater, located at 111 W. Main St. in St. Charles.
“The music is really a high point, I think,” Director Lori Holm said. “It goes from a can-can type song to a rap song to a little bit of a madrigal.”
Based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” tells the story of the fashion-addicted emperor of the kingdom of Glump and his three like-minded daughters.
The four are fleeced by con artists Wart and Hog, who get them to believe they have purchased magic (and invisible) cloth to make new clothes. But when the emperor shows off his new clothes in a parade, he and his family are surprised to learn the humorous truth.
“It’s definitely a comedy,” Holm said. “And our actors have been working quite a bit on developing characters from the inside out. And that’s really fun to watch.”
The cast of 15 ranges in age from 9 to 16 years old and are mainly from the Fox Valley area. The students have been rehearsing for several hours every Saturday for the last five weeks, she said.
“They have to take the leap right into the fire and start working at the first rehearsal,” Holm said. “And they’re doing it.”
Holm has been with Steel Beam for six years as an actor and instructor. Recently, the Batavia resident was named Youth Theatre Coordinator for the theater.
Many of the students who participated in Steel Beam’s children’s shows have gone on to star in high school, college and professional productions, Holm said. Some eventually return to appear on Steal Beam’s adult stage or direct, and to serve as mentors to other children.
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is the first of six productions this season. Other shows in Steel Beam’s Children’s Stage season include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Sing-Along with Santa,” “The Frog Princess,” “Babe the Sheep-Pig” and “Tiny Thumbelina.”
This adaptation of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” — the book written by Karen Boettcher-Tate and the music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur — was selected in part for the music and also because it offered several roles for both male and female actors, Holm said.
In addition, Steel Beam wanted to start the Kid’s Stage season with a comedy.
“Everybody’s starting the school year, and it can be stressful,” Holm said. “Let’s do something everyone can have fun with.”
And they are, she said.
“It’s fun,” Holm said. “When we have a couple of boys on a stage doing the can-can — you can’t beat that.”
Tickets to “The Emperor’s New Clothes” are $15 for adults and $10 for students age 16 and younger. Visit SteelBeamTheatre.com to purchase tickets and select seats.