If only they had been told: Don’t take candy from strangers.
When hungry Hansel and Gretel, children of a poor woodcutter, venture into the woods to search for food, they eventually find themselves at the cottage of an evil (but wacky) witch.
“It’s made of candy,” Director and Choreographer Kim Maslo said of the cottage. “They are then ensnared, and Hansel is kept in a cage.”
While he is fed nothing but cake, his sister is forced to do the witch’s bidding, she said. The children must figure out how to outwit the witch and regain their freedom.
“In the end, good prevails over evil,” she said.
In a musical adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, Hansel and Gretel’s story unfolds onstage at Vero Voce School of Performing Arts. The Children’s Theater production runs Sept. 21-29 at the school’s black box theater, located at 951 State Ave., Suite F, in St. Charles.
“It’s a fun, festive version of it,” Maslo said.
The cast of nearly 20 features children ages 8-18 from throughout the Fox Valley and surrounding area. Along with Hansel, Gretel and the Witch, the students portray peculiar characters such as a bridge-guarding troll, an “articulate” owl and two hobgoblins – Frick and Frack who work for the witch.
Under the vocal direction of David Cramer, fun and lively musical numbers such as “Gingerbread Witch,” “Apple Muffin Goblins” and “Hocus-Pocus” help to tell the tale.
“They’re very jaunty tunes,” Maslo said.
Maslo said it is fun for the students to get the chance to be someone different through the characters they portray – especially those who play villains.
“It’s fun for them,” Maslo said. “It’s such a fun thing to do – to play a bad guy. It’s such a departure from real life.”
Maslo said she enjoys directing children’s theater, which typically includes bright colors, fun costumes and music. Those elements, she said, make it more interesting for audience members, especially the young ones.
But telling the story through song and dance also helps the young students on stage.
“As these children are learning the voice and learning the acting, they do need dancing to be a triple threat,” Maslo said. “We want our students to be able to go out in the community and be a triple threat.”
General admission tickets to Hansel and Gretel are $15 for adults and $9 for children. Visit verovoce.com/children-s-theatre or call (630) 584-0139 to purchase tickets.