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The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

by Hans Christian Andersen

November 29 - December 22, 2013

Our enchanting holiday production of The Snow Queen returns! This beloved fairy tale is one of devotion, bravery, and the triumph of love. When Gerda's best friend Kai is bewitched and imprisoned by the mysterious Snow Queen, the young girl embarks on a journey to the land of winter to save him. With magical characters from crows to rosebushes to reindeer, Andersen's story has warmed the hearts of children and adults around the world for almost 200 years.

Running Time: approximately 1 hour 45 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission

Tickets pricing:
Regular Price $45; Seniors $41; Students $20, Children $15
All advertised prices include a $3 per ticket fee, when purchased by internet, phone or in person
  

Click here to purchase the book that inspired our enchanting production.

A Sneak Peek of The Snow Queen

Director Anita Stewart Talks Snow Queen

 
November 29, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
November 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Parking & Directions
November 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 1, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 14, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 20, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 21, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 21, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Parking & Directions
December 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Parking & Directions


Brunswick Times Record

The Snow Queen

BY BOB MENTZINGER The Times Record Staff
 

In "The Snow Queen," Portland Stage has collected all the earthly delights of the holiday season - and some of the heavenly, too.

The Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale first published in 1845 centers on the struggle between good and evil as experienced by a little boy and girl, Kai and Gerda. The story is one of Andersen's longest and most highly acclaimed - a holiday classic that's stood the test of time with its recent adaptation for the big screen by Disney as the 3-D feature film "Frozen."

Do yourself a favor and see the original, in "live 3-D."

The play is driven by Lauren Orkus, who portrays Gerda, a young person whose best friend, Kai, is bewitched and imprisoned by the Snow Queen.

The girl embarks on a journey to the land of winter to save him. Her tale is told in seven stories, narrated by Daniel Noel as "Ba."

Anita Stewarts's set design pops with depth and sparkle, Susan Thomas's costumes are a compelling mix old-style period dress and far-out fantasia, Bryon Winn bathes the stage in all shades of winter light, and the stage brims with energy only a cast dominated by youths can achieve.

Patricia Buckley delivers an understated yet iconic performance as The Snow Queen - regal in appearance and mincing few words. Buckley also sticks around after matinees to sign authographs for the kids, drawing young people further into the dramatic mystique of the holidays.

With a huge cast, relatively short stage time of under 2 hours and a cast full of energetic youth, it's the perfect way to spend a couple of hours relaxing. Costume and set and design make it fantastic family entertainment.

 


Portland Stage dazzles with 'Snow Queen'

December 12, 2013
Written by Harold Withee

Christmas is many different things to many different people. Faith, family, community and, of course, traditions. The enjoyment to see the season through a child's eyes, remembering our own years of wonder and imagination, when excitement overwhelms and eyes grow in amazement. A feast for the eyes is Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, Portland Stage Company's holiday offering.

This production is an adaptation, conceived and developed by Executive & Artistic Director, Anita Stewart. Ms Stewart also introduces the poetry of Emily Dickenson, lyrics for the composition created by Hans Indigo Spencer. The Snow Queen is not a musical, yet a play interwoven with music. Speaking of the two writers, Ms. Stewart explains, "while they never knew each other, there is a similarity in spirit. That became a touchstone for me." 

"Lush" is the one word I would use if only one word was asked of me to describe this production. Susan Thomas has created a magnificent palette to feast upon with her costume design. Rich detail helped convey the story and every character was fully respected with attention in the minutia. Selling a book of the story in the lobby, with glorious illustration presented on each page, is hard to compete with, yet this design team easily manufactures a companion to the book. The robes and headdress of the Snow Queen are stunning when first introduced to the audience and created the exterior of a child's dream cuddle toy, Ba The Reindeer.

Credit for set design also is attributed to Ms. Stewart and a magical, engaging world has blossomed for the actors to inhabit. Projections and scrims were used to create depth and interesting illusions. I very much enjoyed the foldable flats that changed throughout the action, from warm, inviting Danish village to the coldness of the snow castle. This design was allowed whimsy without being cartoonish. Lighting by Bryon Winn and Seth Asa Sengel's sound design injected the sensory balance, finishing touches for full immersion within the story.

Many characters inhabit this tale and all actors are called upon to transform themselves often throughout the evening. The large ensemble consists mainly of local youngsters from Portland Stage's youth programs. The ensemble is divided into two groups, only performing every other show. I witnessed the White Ensemble. Extended family members are drawn in, filling seats, and real world experience is given to students attending the workshops at the theater. Unfortunately, the pacing of the show suffers with cast changing back and forth around a half dozen Equity actors holding the tent pole in the middle.

Patricia Buckley is the brightest light in this show. Her Snow Queen is martial and regal, radiating authority with little or no movement. Ms Buckley is placed in other roles as well and is hands down brilliant as the Queen of Summer. Delivery is perfection, as well as comic timing, bringing tears to my eyes from laughter.

Courtney Moors is also a gem as Robber Girl. Robber Girl is the "Peppermint Patty" of this story, big heart, not a lot of polish. Ms. Moors delivers this bigger than life woman with warmth, yearning for understanding, a desire to explore beyond the confines of her mother's robber clan. The Snow Queen is a tale of journey and discovery, not just for the hero, but each character we meet seems to be given a path to greater awareness.

The great triumvirate is rounded out by Daniel Noel, a Portland-based actor. His portrayal of Ba The Reindeer is the moral compass of the show. Every animal lover who has shared space with a loving pet will fall in love with Noel's Ba. His interpretation brings complete honesty to every line uttered, centering his approach to Ba from his core. Every child will want a picture with Ba.

One of the young performers' families was seated in front of us with his under-5 sister in attendance. Witnessing this performance through her eyes was a joy. She could be very vocal, crying at the top of show because of being scared, to proclaiming joyously at the end of the play "they're back in the city!" I could have done without the woman in the third row, arms outstretched, taking photos every two minutes from her cellphone, though. Excuse me, lady, but your kid isn't in a school play in your cafetorium.

This production is dazzling to watch, yet lacks that spark and energy a great theatrical evening needs.


December 7, 2013 

Review: ‘Snow Queen’ warms even those hearts two sizes too small
By April Boyle 

Winter is upon us and this year the cold air has brought a classic fairytale to warm the hearts of theatergoers.

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” returns to Portland Stage. And, it’s as magical and unique as a finely wrought snowflake.

Like the theater’s ever-popular rendition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” “The Snow Queen" is a whirlwind story, told primarily through narration. The narration comes from the storyteller (Daniel Noel), the core cast and an ensemble of 11 young actors (Two ensembles, White and Blue, perform on a rotating schedule throughout the production’s run). Often, all 17 cast members are telling the story in tandem or in unison.

The production doesn’t require an elaborate set to dazzle patrons. In true fairytale fashion, every flower, bush, bird, animal and snowflake has a personality. And a cast member brings each vividly to the stage.

It’s a world where preening flowers talk, snowflakes are fierce guards for a frosty queen, a crow can recite Shakespeare and a big-hearted reindeer can undertake a valiant journey to help a brave girl save her best friend from the evil queen.

Shadow puppets, semitransparent curtains and echoing sound effects add to the otherworldliness of the production.

The story is broken into seven chapters, with three in the first act and four in the second. Noel serves as the audience’s animated guide on the enchanting journey, as well as doubling as a lovable reindeer named Ba.

Along with Noel the core cast features Patricia Buckley (Snow Queen), Richard Dent IV (Kai), Courtney Moors (Inventor’s Assistant/Princess/Robber Girl), Lauren Orkus (Gerda) and Steven Strafford (Inventor/Crow).

Buckley is frigid as the Snow Queen, completely devoid of emotion and compassion. And, her glistening silver-trimmed gown, headdress and furs are both mesmerizing and bone-chilling to behold.

The Snow Queen’s icy heart is made even more pronounced when contrasted with Buckley’s other minor roles. She is particularly warm and fun as the Snow Queen’s antithesis, the Queen of Summer.

Orkus is the heart of the story as Gerda, the little girl in search of her missing friend, Kai, who’s portrayed with a childlike quality by Dent. Orkus brings innocence, courage and unfaltering belief to her role.

Dent is also thoroughly entertaining as the tongue-tied suitors to the Princess, played by Moors, who is vivacious in all three of her roles. Her characters are memorable and guaranteed to bring a smile.

Strafford rounds out the core cast, as the Igor-like inventor and a loquacious crow. He’s a real holiday treat, with scene-stealing, cartoon-like character portrayals and rich-voiced vocal performances.

Both Orkus and Dent act with younger versions of themselves during the production. Friday night’s performance featured the White ensemble, with fifth-grader Ruby Peterman as young Gerda and 7-year-old Antonio Luc Hernandez stealing hearts as young Kai.

“The Snow Queen” is an inventive, charming production for all ages. It’s a parable that brings out the magic of the holiday season, while teaching a valuable lesson.
 



Reviews from our December 2011 production of The Snow Queen

Warming up to Portland Stage’s Snow Queen

Out in the cold
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  December 14, 2011 

This week, we look at another theatrical alternative to the Dickens' ghosts. Portland Stage Company, which usually stages its own beloved Christmas Carol, mounts a different wintery classic this year: Hans Christian Andersen's epic struggle of warmth against chill, The Snow Queen. Anita Stewart directs a colorful and lively ensemble production of the fairy tale in which young Gerda (Lauren Orkus) journeys far, and mostly barefoot, to save her friend Kai (Ian Carlsen) from literal and figurative coldness.

Andersen's story starts with a goblin-like inventor (Tom Ford, maniacally) who creates a mirror that distorts reality, reflecting only the bad and ugly in good, beautiful people. When the mirror is accidentally shattered, its shards blow all over the place, splintering people's hearts and eyes and freezing them up inside. One piece ends up in the eye of Kai, the neighbor and best friend of Gerda, and he turns distant, calculating, and mean. When the snow flies and a glacially lovely mystery lady in white furs (Patricia Buckley, elegantly) comes through town, he hitches his sled to her sleigh and goes. She is of course the Snow Queen, believer in symmetry, order, and perfect control. She keeps him cold and numb in her palace, promising him the world and a new pair of skates if he can spell the word "Eternity" with blocks of ice, while Gerda makes her way north to find him.

As she does, she encounters a slew of characters and comic relief, including a robber princess (feisty Sally Wood), crow sweethearts (Ford and Buckley), a German intellectual princess (Wood again), and a faithful reindeer (Daniel Noel in a fur hat, adorably). Orkus and Carlsen are charming, spirited, and nimble, and the talented principal cast of Buckley, Ford, Noel, and Wood plays its range of silly and noble roles with gusto and good humor. They're supported by a larger ensemble of mostly younger performers, many of whom are local middle-school students, and who range brightly about as villagers, flowers, snowflakes, and more. Skillful, well directed, and beautifully costumed, they create vibrant and kinetic adventures along Gerda's journey: A raucous and slapstick band of robbers overtakes Gerda's sleigh; vain tiger lilies in exquisite petal hats gloat over their beauty.

As usual, Anita Stewart has designed an evocative series of sets, including the homey, warm-colored buildings of Kai and Gerda's village, which contrast starkly with the cold and cavernous ice palace. The show employs a range of theatrical devices, from the timeless blue sheet riffled like a river to digitally created snow projections. Some effects are so deliberately primitive as to seem like winks to the craft, such as the strangely featureless stuffed carriage men driving Gerda's sleigh, while others are surprisingly tech-endowed, like the amplified echo reverb that is the sonic status quo inside the palace.

The show also features music, composed and directed by Hans Indigo Spencer, and most of its lyrics come, interestingly, from the poetry of Emily Dickinson, who was a contemporary of Andersen's, though they were of different nationalities, never met, and seem to have been of completely opposite temperaments. It's a little strange at first to hear "Hope is the thing with feathers" issue from the mouths of a bunch of fresh-faced Scandinavians. But then again, Dickinson's singular aesthetic — her forms so stark and spare, her themes of both human joy and chilly, clear-eyed mortality — could be said to pose an interesting synthesis to this play's dichotomy of feeling and reason.

And as a holiday message, the play's message of love over emotional withholding is a fair fit with Dickens. The Snow Queen might not have quite the same nostalgia currency as does the tale of Scrooge and his ghosts, and in the slapstick of this production does at times feel a little more slight, but its spirit and its spectacle are nevertheless a force for warmth.

Megan Grumbling 


BIDDEFORD JOURNAL TRIBUNE

The Snow Queen

Based on the tale by Hans Christian Andersen
Adapted, Designed and Directed by Anita Stewart

An Old World fairy tale odyssey has been brought to life by the Portland Stage Company to celebrate the holidays and the magic of winter. The SNOW QUEEN opened on December 2nd and continues through Christmas Eve.

An enormous cast, an abundance of special stage effects, and an unabashed acting exuberance strive to make this meandering tale of adventure a holiday treat for the wee ones and those of us who savor moralistic theatrical moonshine.

Based on the epic fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, who gave us “The Emperor’s Clothes”, “The Little Mermaid” and “The Princess and the Pea”, The windy epic tale of the SNOW QUEEN has been adapted, directed and designed by the Portland Stage Artistic Director, Anita Stewart. Tradition looms large during holiday time at the Portland playhouse where the Dickens tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge has been reprised numerous times and The David Sedaris spicy saga of Crumpet the Macy’s Department store elf is now in its fourth incarnation in the small second stage studio theater at Portland Stage.

"The Snow Queen" is envisioned as an antidote to the Dickens Classic to be presented every other holiday season, giving the Ghosts of Christmas and the Crachitts a chance to visit other theaters before returning to the PSC main stage. It is sure to improve with age.

"The Snow Queen" opens with a single tiny snowflake that grows before our eyes into a stage wide animated ornament as the prodigious acting ensemble parades into the auditorium singing a robust overture.

As the action unfolds we are regaled with the visual delights of an old world town square that effortlessly opens like a storybook. Yards of flowing silk become a river, scrims rise from the floor and descend from the rafters, mirrors float, snow flakes and autumn leaves fall from the sky. Shadow puppets appear and disappear, a garden of anthropomorphic flowers-including comic daises, narcissistic morning glories and a trio of vain tiger lilies dance and charm us with their wit.

The Snow Queen herself appears in a symphony of white crowned with an enormous sparkling tiara that frames her head like an oversized Elizabethan cowl that makes the excesses of Elizabeth seem a trifle. She makes a stunning tableau -a magical evocation of the crystallization of snow and ice.

If only the narrative had taken a back seat to this fantasia of imaginative stage mesmerism the play would have taken flight, but it was tethered by an exhaustive and clumsy plot quest .

Luckily, Two fabulous veteran PSC actors, Tom Ford and Daniel Noel keep the drama alive. Tom Ford appears and reappears in a wild panoply of characters, a choraleer, a townsperson, an angel, and his two main roles, the wacky, frenetic maniacal inventor and his spectacular personification of a talking crow with a hilarious vocal habit that keeps the audience laughing aloud in their seats. A spark plug of theatrical energy, Tom Ford rules as the Bob Hope of Portland.

Daniel Noel lends his sonorous rich baritone to the narration of the tale and his voice resonates with dramatic flourish. It’s music to the ear. As the play climbs to the the finish, he dons a pair of antlers and a coat of furs to portray the tireless reindeer ”BA.’’

The steadfast BA struggles through the frozen tundra along with the narrative line. 


Portland Daily Sun

'Snow Queen' creates a crisp holiday mood

Dec 08, 2011 12:00 am

Michael J. Tobin

Review: "The Snow Queen"/Portland Stage Company

You don't have to dig far beneath the icy surface of Portland Stage Company to experience Hans Christian Andersen's heart-warming fairy tale, which comes to life in an exuberant adaptation by PSC Executive and Artistic Director, Anita Stewart.

First published in 1845, "The Snow Queen" tells seven tales of misadventure between good and evil, when a young boy named Kai is taken away by the mysterious Snow Queen and his best friend Gerda embarks on a perilous journey to rescue him.

Stewart has penned a magical montage that is imaginative, witty and spirited. Stewart's love for this piece is evident, her story-telling talents at their best. Stewart's direction is well-defined, well-paced and full of creativity, from the wonderful 3-D illusions and delightful shadow play puppetry to the real-life images reminiscent of Vladyslav Yerko's illustrations.

There is no question that Tom Ford steals the show with his energetic, multi-characters. Ford's portrayal of the wicked hobgoblin was deliciously evil and his hysterical crow was physically and comedically perfect. Ford, as with all his past PSC performances, embodies each character, making strong and committed choices. Daniel Noel, a local favorite of stage and film, took command of the storytelling with his rich, expressive voice that captivated the audience. Noel's performance as Ba, the reindeer, was a showstopper.

Sally Wood's multiple talents shone brightly, her portrayal of the Robber Girl was worth the price of admission. Wood's chosen facial expressions, physicality and line deliveries were hilarious. Wood has worn many hats at PSC and always delivers with top-notch results. The beautiful Lauren Orkus and local actor Ian Carlsen were perfect in their roles of Kai and Gerda. Their relationship was believable and fun. An underused Patricia Buckley was stunning as the Snow Queen.

The ensemble is divided into two performance groups, white and blue. The blue ensemble performed at the Sunday matinee I attended. The children were a professional, solid support to the adult leads, obviously enjoying themselves as much as we did. Unfortunately, Tommy DiPhilippo as young Kai was hard to hear and understand and the relationship between DiPhilippo and young Gerda, played by Julia Pilk, did not reflect the tight bond established by Carlsen and Orkus.

Favorite moments included the many visual special effects, especially the arrival of the Snow Queen (brilliant), the hilarious Daisys (David Glendinning and Bari Robinson) and my very favorite, the pigeons, who deserved their own bow.

Composer and Musical Director, Hans Indigo Spenser, did a great job creating instrumental atmosphere and fusing Emily Dickinson's poems with Hans Christian Andersen's story. It was nice to hear and understand the singers. Costume designer, Susan Thomas, created fun attire for the entire company with individual characters well defined by suggested costume pieces. The Snow Queen costume was fantastic and actually gave me shivers when Buckley first appeared in it. Anita Stewart designed a multi-use set with lots of surprises. The set painting was Vladyslav Yerko inspired and executed perfectly. Bryon Winn's lighting design was beautifully done, capturing all the elements of each moment in the show. The many projections by Winn were magical, very well done and added so much to the show. Congratulations to Myles C. Hatch for stage managing a very tight show.

The theater lobby was tastefully decorated for the holiday season, and patrons received a warm welcome from my favorite house manager, Gerri Powell and a host of helpful volunteers. Concerning a small issue but an important one, the curtain speech delivered by PSC Trustee David Glendinning was disjointed, hard to hear and understand. I realize and support the importance for the curtain speech but either record it or let someone who can speak professionally and actually get the show title correct (he said, "A Christmas Carol") deliver it. After all, it's that person that represents the theater, its sponsors and sets the tone for the beginning of the show.

Stewart is to be congratulated with a standing ovation for adapting and directing a show that kept the quiet attention of a sold-out audience of mostly very young children. As one little girl exclaimed following the end of act one, "This is awesome."

"The Snow Queen" will warm the hearts of the young and young-at-heart through Dec. 24 at Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave., Portland. For information and reservations, call 774-0465 or go to portlandstage.org. In the words of fairy tale lovers everywhere, "Snip snap snout" (which means, "The End").

(Michael J. Tobin has been a professional actor, director, theatre administrator and educator for 30 years in theaters throughout New England and around the country. Mr. Tobin has performed and directed in 350-plus shows Off-Broadway, National Tours, Regional Theatre, Summer Stock, Children’s Theatre and Community Theatre. Mr. Tobin lives in South Portland.)


Review: 'The Snow Queen' will warm old and young

By STEVE FEENEY

There's no truth to the rumor that Scrooge demanded time off to pursue a career as a political consultant. The real story is that director Anita Stewart simply wanted to try something new for this year's holiday production at Portland Stage. She chose well.

"The Snow Queen," a play based on the famous Hans Christian Andersen story, opened on Friday night to an audience including many small children. The lack of the chatter and squirming that often go with a youthful audience is one measure of what an absorbing and delightful show this is -- and not only for the kids.

The fun that it must have been to put this show together, not to mention the hard work, comes through loud and clear in the finished product.

The sets, designed by Stewart, make extensive use of scrimsand projections to create realms within realms as the youngheroine, played by Lauren Orkus, goes on a wildly adventurous journey to find her friend who has been lured to the castle of The SnowQueen.

Orkus' Gerda is at the center of most of the action. The youthful actress was excellent as an innocent abroad who nonetheless summons much courage as she battles the elements, natural and human.

Challenged at one point by a band of cutthroat robbers, she eventually befriends the Robber Princess, played by Portland Stage veteran Sally Wood. Wood had a lot of fun with the role and got some of the biggest laughs of the evening with her roguish bluster.

Patricia Buckley plays the chilly Queen whose multilayered white costume, designed by Susan Thomas, adds to her spooky presence. Buckley also got to double, this time in a flowery red outfit, as a bewitching gardener.

Ian Carlsen plays the young man under the Queen's control. Carlsen easily conveyed that his Kai is really a darling at heart, once his heart is thawed out.

Daniel Noel provides narration, at times with welcome touches of comedic attitude, anddoubles as a reindeer who provides crucial help in getting to the castle.

Original music by Hans Indigo Spencer, with lyrics interestingly borrowed from Emily Dickinson, add to the magical atmosphere as many eccentric characters are drawn into the story.

Even talking flowers (particularly memorable are some oblivious daisies) and crows are encountered in the quest. As one of the latter, Tom Ford is a swooping sweetheart in guiding the heroine.

A strong supporting cast and a nice ensemble concept helps to make this show truly fun for all ages while gently delivering a moral message, as all good tales should.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

 


This year, Portland Stage says, let it 'Snow'

The theater company debuts a mega production of 'The Snow Queen,' based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer 

For 14 years, Portland Stage Company has dutifully rounded up the actors, dusted off the sets and props, and put up its annual holiday play, the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol."

This year, things have changed.

This year, Anita Stewart and her small army of worker bees are opening a brand-new spectacle. Beginning Friday, "The Snow Queen," based on the fairly tale by Hans Christian Andersen, will turn Portland Stage into a winter wonderland. The theater has scheduled 34 shows of the new production through Christmas Eve, including those for school groups.

The mega production is the largest and most complex show the theater has produced in many years, involving numerous fantasy sets, more than 100 colorful costumes and an ensemble of two dozen actors.

Portland Stage intends to bring this show back on an every-other-year basis, rotating with "A Christmas Carol" as its December offering on the main stage. The off-color Christmas comedy "The Santaland Diaries" remains a lock in the Studio Theater.

"The Snow Queen" offers a complex story about a young girl, Gerda, who is searching for her friend, Kai, who has been bewitched by the Snow Queen. During her journey to find her friend, Gerda receives assistance from a variety of characters and creatures, including a prince and princess, flowers, crows, a reindeer named Ba and a river, among others.

"We've been doing 'A Christmas Carol' successfully for a number of years, and I was feeling that we needed a change," said Stewart. "I was looking for something that had a winter theme and that also had some magic to it, but not necessarily a Christmas or holiday theme."

"The Snow Queen" appealed on many levels. Stewart loved the story, and felt it would translate well on stage. She also liked the fact that it features a strong heroine. "Most of the time, it's a male hero. But this is a female hero," she noted.

Perhaps most important, Stewart subscribed to the notion that "The Snow Queen" would appeal to kids and adults alike with its themes of love and friendship -- an important element in drawing crowds during the holiday season, when families seek well-rounded, wholesome entertainment.

So far, so good.

Advance ticket sales have been great. Tickets remain for opening night and Saturday night, but both the Saturday and Sunday matinees on opening weekend are sold out.

This show also comes with a host of technical and artistic challenges. Anderson wrote his original story in Danish, which meant that Stewart turned to a variety of translations when she wrote her adaptation.

She also took the leap of including the words of poet Emily Dickinson in various musical passages that appear throughout the play. Dickinson's poems, which Stewart felt blended well with Andersen's prose, provide the lyrics for the music in this local adaptation. Hans Indigo Spencer composed the music, and serves as music director.

The scope of the production itself posed another challenge. "The Snow Queen" features seven distinct stories in seven different worlds. That meant the theater's shops worked overtime to build sets and costumes for each fantasy world.

Further complicating the process was one big practical roadblock. The show that was up previous, "God of Carnage," had a short, three-week run. Technical director Ted Gallant and his carpentry staff had only two weeks to build sets for "The Snow Queen." Because of space limitations, Portland Stage can build sets for the next show only while the current show is in production.

The issue wasn't the number or complexity of the sets, which Stewart designed and helped build, but the short window available for building them. "This is a really big show to build in two weeks," Gallant said.

Another aspect that vexed the staff briefly was the breakdown of the "God of Carnage" set. It included a huge sandbox that was full of sand. The theater went from sand to snow overnight. It hired a local company to come in and remove the sand with an industrial vacuum.

For costume shop manager Susan Thomas, "The Snow Queen" has been a top-of-mind concern since summer. She designed 100-plus different costumes for this show. After the show was cast, Thomas and her crew spent the heat of the summer thinking about winter as they made the costumes.

The cast for "The Snow Queen" includes many familiar local professional actors, as well several from New York.

Patricia Buckley comes from out of town to play the Snow Queen; she last appeared in Portland for the premiere of "Out of Sterno." Portland actor Ian Carlsen plays Kai. New York actress Lauren Orkus plays Gerda. This is her Portland Stage debut.

Other local actors with long histories at Portland Stage include Daniel Noel and Sally Wood. Tom Ford, who has appeared many times at Portland Stage, returns in a dual role.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: bkeyes@pressherald.com

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) A rags to riches success who might have sprung from one of his own stories, Hans Christian Andersen worked as a novelist, poet, and playwright in 19th century Denmark, but became world-famous for writing fairytales. His more than 150 stories set new standards in the genre of children's literature, and his characters and plots have been adapted countless times over.

 

ABOUT THE CAST

Patricia Buckley (The Snow Queen) New York credits include Evolution at the Cherry Lane and 59e59th Theatres, Flesh and Blood at New York Theatre Workshop, Scenes From An Execution with Potomac Theatre Project, God of Carnage at MileSquare Theatre, Hitting The Wall at The Clurman Theatre and Those Who Can, Do with Clubbed Thumb. International credits include Gams On The Lam Performance Company for US, Canada, Mexico and European tours and K de Calle Teatro y Animacion in Spain.  Regional credits include Lost in Yonkers at Papermill Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse and Jupiter Maltz Theatre; The Heidi Chronicles at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Twelfth Night and The Three Musketeers with Theatre de la Jeune Lune; Yang Zen Frogs in Moon Over A Hong Kong Sweatshop at LaJolla Playhouse; Lost in Yonkers at Coconut Grove Playhouse and Walnut Street Theatre; Flesh and Blood at Portland Center Stage (OR); and for Portland Stage: A Christmas Carol, Love/Sick (Premiere), Out of Sterno (Premiere), and Much Ado About Nothing. Film and television appearances include Law & Order (NBC), Death of A President (Film 4/Channel 4), Kabluey (Sony), The Delicious (Fox Searchlight) and Anna Is Being Stalked (Sundance Channel).

Richard Dent IV (Kai) is tremendously excited to make his Portland Stage debut in The Snow Queen. Richard's past work includesLord of the Flies with Barrington Stage, and various workshops in the Berkshires and NYC. He recently was a guest performer in Pericles at Juilliard.  In addition to acting, Richard builds Commedia dell'Arte and other masks designed for teaching and performance out of his home workshop. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School-Group 41. Deep thanks to his dear friends and beautiful family.

Daniel Noel (Storyteller / Ba) loves being alive and on this stage. Most recently, Daniel received critical accolades as Lyman in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's acclaimed production of Other Desert Cities. He is a Portland Stage Affiliate Artist & has been associated Portland Stage since 1998. Along with Portland Stage's Theater For Kids, productions here include: Arcadia, A Christmas Carol, Terminal Exit, The Foreigner, Rough Crossing, The Drawer Boy, Bach at Leipzig, Trouble Is My Business and his workshopped/commissioned play, Longfellow: A Life In Words, in which he played the title role and opened Portland Stage's Studio Theater space. Daniel created the roles of Felix, in Joe Papp's Broadway & Off-Broadway productions of The Human Comedy and Mandelstam, in Liz Swados' The Beautiful Lady at The New Playwrights (Helen Hayes Best Ensemble Award) & WNYC's Live From the Public for the New York Shakespeare Festival. Other stages include: The Brooklyn Academy of Music: Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center Institute, PS 122, NYSF, Orpheum Theater-LA, Santa Monica Playhouse, Boston's New Opera & Music Theater Initiative, Water Tower Place and Emerson College. Other work includes: TV commercials & voice over/print work, opera, Final Rune's Audio Drama, The Cleansed & the 3rd season of the award winning web series, Ragged Isle and Art Director for Bonfire Films. TV: ABC's Loving, Liberty News TV, Various PBS shows. Daniel's sixteen feature films & shorts include: Pennyweight, Alias: The Lost Episode, Inn Season (2010 Maine 48 Hour Film Festival Best Actor Award), Requital, Red Noise, The Barn, and Alex Garnett's Belle. Look for him in the upcoming features Anatomy of the Tide and The Hanover House.

Lauren Orkus (Gerda) is very happy to be returning to Portland Stage and The Snow Queen! She recently performed in Mary Zimmerman's remount of Metamorphoses at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago and Arena Stage in D.C. Her credits include: My Sweet Charlie (Abingdon, NYC); Comedy of Errors and Two Noble Kinsmen (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); The Diary of Anne Frank (St. Louis Rep.); The House in Hydesville (Geva Theatre); Ivanov (Miscreant Theatre, NYC); Doubt (Weston Playhouse); Night of the Iguana (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Arms and the Man (Orlando Shakespeare Theater); The Crucible (Asolo Theatre Festival); A Christmas Carol (American Drama Group Europe/German Tour). MFA from Florida State University/Asolo Theatre Conservatory; BA from Penn State University.

Courtney Moors (Princess / Robber Girl) is so happy to be back at Portland Stage where she played Myra and Babydoll in Hidden Tennessee in 2012. Previous regional credits include Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jane in Pride and Prejudice (Orlando Shakespeare Theater), Miss Sullivan in Dracula, Dusty Press in the world premiere of HEIST! as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays (Actors Theatre of Louisville). In New York: Viola in Twelfth Night (Barefoot Shakespeare Company) Mrs. MacIntyre in Chains of Dew (Wings Theatre), staged readings with the Drama Bookshop Reading Series and NYU's Steinberg Lab. Courtney was an acting apprentice at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and holds a BFA in acting from the University of Central Florida. She is a founding member of Barefoot Shakespeare Company in NYC.

Steven Strafford (Inventor / Crow) is so happy to return to Portland Stage where he was in the 2010 production of The Mystery of Irma Vep.  Most recently, Steven was part of the original NYC cast of  Songs for a More Funnier World (NYMF) Steven has been seen in Spamalot (Original Vegas Production and Sacramento Music Circus) as Prince Herbert and the guy who says, "I'm not dead yet" Nat'l and Int'l Tours: Grease as Eugene, Cinderella as The Herald, Peter Pan as Cecco. Regional: Morris Kaden and other roles in As Bees in Honey Drown (Cape Playhouse), John Dashwood, Peter and the Doctor in the world premiere of  Sense and Sensibility (The Denver Center), Antonio in Twelfth Night (Bakerloo Theatre Project) and Thurio in Two Gentlemen of Verona (TheatreHikes)  He has appeared in the films The Homecoming and The Obsessive-Compulsive Agoraphobic Love Story.  Steven is the author and performer of Methtacular! (www.methtacular.com) coming to a city near you soon! This is dedicated to my niece and best friend, Nora, who seems destined for the stage.

ABOUT THE ENSEMBLE

Megan Acker is a Junior at Scarborough High School and this is her fourth production with Portland Stage. Megan has participated in theater since the age of nine. Some of the productions Megan has been in include Dracula at Stages Performing Arts, A Christmas Carol and The Snow Queen with Portland Stage, The Boyfriend with Oak Hill Players and more. Megan enjoys participating in Interact Club and National Honor Society at her school, reading, and hanging out with friends. She would like to thank her family for their support and the cast and crew of The Snow Queen for an amazing run. Enjoy the show!

Helen BellaFiore is very excited to be sharing her fourth year at Portland Stage with you. She has previously been in A Christmas Carol twice, and the first production of The Snow Queen. Helen has performed in various other plays over the years, including Miracle on 34th Street, Pippin, and Charlotte's Web. She enjoys singing (all the time), playing piano, and reading. Helen would like to thank all of the cast members at Portland Stage that have made it one of her favorite places to be. Enjoy the show!

Franci Bliss is a Freshman at Casco Bay High School, and this is her third year working with Portland Stage. She's an avid member of her schools volunteer club, vocal ensemble, as well as a partner of blunt youth radio. In her free time, Franci does yoga and aerial dance, and enjoys hoops, bar and silks. She is thrilled to be a part of The Snow Queen, and hopes you enjoy the show! 

James Botting is thrilled to be making his Portland Stage debut in The Snow Queen. James enjoys playing chess, swimming, hip hop, and Minecraft.

Lily Carrigan is a 6th grade student at King Middle School. Lily is thrilled to appear in her first production with Portland Stage. She has appeared in productions with Acorn Theater and in the Deering High School Drama Department. Lily loves to sing and sings with the King Middle School Chorus and with Musica de Filia. She has also performed at St. Luke's Church. Lily studies the piano and violin and lives in Portland with her family and her dog Tedi.

Isadora (Dora) Chaison-Lapine is excited and grateful to be performing in her fourth year of a Christmastime production at Portland Stage. This is her first year in The Snow Queen. Dora is a sixth grader at King Middle School. She enjoys soccer, softball, hiking, and canoeing, and she loves to act. Dora has a guinea pig, and a dog. She'd like to thank her brother, George, her best friend, Makeda, her teachers, and her parents. She hopes all of you enjoy The Snow Queen as much as she does.

Aiden Davenport is currently a middle school student in Old Orchard Beach, who has been happily involved in theatre productions over the last two years.  Aiden started out in improv classes at the Children's Museum in Portland, and moved on there to play Dr. Samuel Truman in the Boxcar Children, and more recently as Captain Hook in their production of Peter Pan. Last winter, Aiden performed as part of the ensemble in the Portland Player's Miracle on 34th Street

Tommy DiPhilippo is in the 6th grade at Mahoney Middle School in South Portland. This is his fifth production with Portland Stage. Tommy is a member of Mahoney's cross country and track teams, plays saxophone, loves math and science, and enjoys camping and fishing.

Keegan Donegan is nine years old and a 4th grader at Yarmouth Elementary School. Last year he played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol at Portland Stage. He is very excited to join new friends in the ensemble cast of The Snow Queen this season. In his spare time, Keegan likes to read, play games and drink tea. He would like to thank his teachers, friends and family for all their support and encouragement!

Hannah Duston is extremely excited to be back at Portland Stage performing in The Snow Queen. She has been in numerous productions with the Children's Theater of Maine. Most recently, she played the leading role of Wilbur in Charlotte's Web with CMTM. Hannah is a 6th grader at Lincoln Middle School who enjoys singing with Musica de Filia, playing soccer, puppetering with The Kids On The Block Troupe and playing her trombone. A special thanks to the people at Portland Stage, her family, friends, teachers and her cat Lizzie.

Cody Foley is thrilled to be returning to Portland Stage after a long hiatus. During this time he has been involved in numerous productions with the Theatre Company at Falmouth High School. Outside of theatre, Cody sings with his school choir and the Boy Singers of Maine. His exposure to the arts has only increased since his first production of A Christmas Story at the Thomaston Opera House in Connecticut when he was 9, an experience for which he is incredibly grateful. Cody is currently a Junior at Falmouth High where he is desperately searching for a clear direction of his future. 

Georgia Gibbs is 11 years old and lives on Munjoy Hill with her mom, dad, and her cat Merlin. She is in 6th grade at King Middle School where she plays the saxophone in the school band and sings in the chorus. This is her second production at Portland Stage, last year she was in the ensemble of A Christmas Carol.  In her free time, she loves to draw, read, swim, and explore nature. Georgia is very excited to be in The Snow Queen at Portland Stage!

Lynnea Harding is an 11th grader at Falmouth HS and is thrilled to be back at Portland Stage. This is her 2nd season of The Snow Queen and has been in Portland Stage's A Christmas Carol for many wonderful holiday seasons. Other Favorites: Hermia (Freeport Shakespeare); Young Eponine, Les Miserables (MSMT); Gloria, Wait Until Dark (Portland Stage), and Voice of Minnie, Evolution by Patricia Buckley. Lynnea is the founding member of the Cadenza Chamber Ensemble and both performs and composes for the group. She has been playing the violin for 10 yrs. and was the 2013 District 2 High School Orchestra Concertmaster. Thank you to my family, friends, and teachers for all their support!

Parker Harnett age 10, is a 5th grader at Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth. This is her second year with Portland Stage, and her first time with the production of The Snow Queen. Parker has been acting on the stage and screen for the last several years in a variety of different roles and productions. Aside from acting, Parker loves school, soccer, swimming and singing. She would like to give a special shout out to her dogs, Scout and Benny.

Antonio Luc Hernandez is seven years old and this is his first show at Portland Stage. Antonio plays the violin and is interested in any musical instrument he can get his hands on. He is also an avid singer, with favorites ranging from the Mozart's "Magic Flute" to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". When not making music of some sort, Antonio loves to read, draw, and ride his bike. This is Antonio's debut professional production and his family is so proud of him!

Andrew Lyndaker is a 4th grader from Damariscotta. While he has been performing since the age of six, this will be Andrew's first performance at Portland Stage. Other performances have included, Oliver, Beauty and the Beast, and most recently, The Secret Garden. When not performing Andrew enjoys playing soccer, basketball, and playing with his dog, Ubu. Andrew is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful show.

Claire McDonald is excited to be in her first Portland Stage production. In addition to acting, Claire enjoys drawing, playing the piano, soccer, skiing, and bacon. Claire is nine years old and is in the 4th grade at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth.  

Erin McKeown is a freshman at Scarborough High School. This is her fourth show with Portland Stage and she is extremely happy to be back. Other than theater she loves to play soccer, write, and read. She loves the Christmas season and is very excited for the holidays. She hopes you all enjoy the performance and your holiday season! Credits Include: A Christmas Carol (2) and The Snow Queen (2), Footloose, Kickstart Game Show, Acorn Productions, Stages Productions, Clue and various theater camps.

Bianca Peterman is in the 8th grade at Friends School of Portland, a small Quaker school located on Mackworth Island. This is her third year performing with Portland Stage. In 2011 she played Little Kai in the premiere production of The Snow Queen. She enjoys running with her cross country team and has a lot of focus in school regarding Math, Science, and the Arts. She lives in Hollis, Maine with her sister and two rescue dogs from Louisiana.

Ruby Peterman is in the 5th grade at the Friends School of Portland, an independent day school on Mackworth Island. Ruby has been performing with Portland Stage for four years. She has played Tiny Tim twice and is currently cast at Little Gerda in this production of The Snow Queen. Ruby enjoys baking, science and playing the piano. She lives in Hollis with her family, two rescue dogs, and five chickens.

Julia Pilk is 12 years old (13 on Dec. 9) and a 7th grader at Cape Elizabeth Middle School. This is her third performance at Portland Stage. Last year she was young Fern in A Christmas Carol. Julia recently performed in her school production of Alice in Wonderland, as Alice, and last year she was in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Music Man. In her free time Julia enjoys singing, playing guitar, sewing, cooking, and spending time with her two sisters Taylor and Alexis.  Julia would like to thank Portland Stage for giving her this opportunity, and also her family for their support.

Alexis Pilk is eight years old and a 3rd grader at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth. This is her debut at Portland Stage! She is excited to work with her older sister, Julia, and to carry on the family tradition of being young Gerda. In her free time, Alexis loves to play soccer, the guitar and spending time with her sisters. She would like to thank Portland Stage for this opportunity and to dedicate her performances to her grandfather.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION TEAM

Anita Stewart (Director & Set Designer) Anita Stewart's work as a director and adapter is been seen every fall during Portland Stage's production of A Christmas Carol.  She has also directed and adapted Peer Gynt and directed Women and the Sea. Additionally, Anita has worked as a set and costume designer at leading theatres across the country, including: the Guthrie, Seattle Rep, Canadian Opera Company, A.R.T in Boston, Steppenwolf and New York Theater Workshop. 

Hans Indigo Spencer (Music Director & Composer) Called a "master composer" by the Boston Globe for his jazz orchestra's debut jazz CD, "First Storybook", Hans Indigo Spencer's career stretches over twenty years of supporting stories for theater directors, filmmakers, animators, and choreographers. Broadcast composing credits include shows on National Geographic Channel, History Channel, PBS, Cartoon Network, the Science Channel, and Discovery.  He has created music for plays at Portland Stage - Snow Queen, Iron Kisses, Magnetic North, and Passion of the Hausfrau. He has also underscored hundreds of improv comedy shows at Improv Boston Theater, played saxophone with bands such as the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra and his own Indigo Invention Group, and written jazz compositions for those groups as well. The Chameleon Arts Ensemble, one of Boston's premier classical chamber groups, regularly features his music in their family concerts which he helps design and present. He was educated in classical composition at Oberlin Conservatory and earned a Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory.

Susan Thomas (Costume Designer) is now on her eighth season as the Costume Shop Manager at Portland Stage. Some of Susan's design credits at Portland Stage are Vigil, The Snow Queen, and The Santaland Diaries which are running this season. Design work in previous seasons includes: A Christmas Carol, 2Pianos 4HandsMary's Wedding, Fully Committed, The Real McGonagall, and Longfellow: A Life in Words.  Susan has worked in the costume shops of a variety of regional theatres including: Theatre Department at USM, Maine State Music Theater Costume Rentals, Geva Theater Center, Shakespeare & Company, The Theater at Monmouth, Fenix Theatre Company, The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, and Port Opera. Enjoy the show!

Seth Asa Sengel (Sound Designer) is a singer-songwriter and listener from the backwoods of Parsonsfield. He began his stage career with Children's Theatre of Maine while interning for WBLM radio and attending Waynflete School ('93). He has since collaborated with arts organizations across the country as an audio specialist and musician. Seth Asa has been seen and heard at Cortland Repertory Theatre, FullStop Collective, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise Contemporary Theater, The College of Idaho, Boise State University, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Open Waters Theatre Arts and many more. Seth is always happy to return to Portland Stage where his past work includes Wittenberg, A Song at Twilight, Heroes, I Am My Own Wife and Collected Stories. This is Seth Asa's twentieth year as a professional artist.

Bryon Winn (Lighting Designer) is delighted to be returning to Portland Stage for his 16th season. He has designed over 30 productions for Portland Stage. His design work has also been seen at Trinity Rep, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Axis Theatre, Intersection for the Arts, Miranda Theatre Company, Utah Musical Theatre, Middlebury College, Cornell College, Riverside Theatre and Iowa Summer Rep. Bryon serves as the Director of Theatre at the University of Iowa and is a member of United Scenic Artist 829.

Myles C. Hatch (Stage Manager) is currently enjoying his 14th season stage-managing with Portland Stage. Most recently, Myles was the Stage Manager for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. During the past twenty three years, Myles has worked in stage management with such diversified theatres as Theater By The Sea (RI), The Freeport Shakespeare Festival (ME), Maine State Music Theatre (ME), The Theater at Monmouth (ME), Arden Theatre Company (PA), Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (MD), Everyman Theatre (MD), Rep Stage (MD), Horse Cave Theatre (KY), New Stage Theatre (MS), Round House Theatre (MD), Source Theatre Company (D.C.), Washington Stage Guild (D.C.), Washington Jewish Theatre (D.C.), Asolo Theatre Company (FL), Westport Country Playhouse (CT), and the YALE Summer Cabaret (CT). Myles will next stage-manage Veils  here at Portland Stage. Myles is a member of the Actors' Equity Association.


2013-2014
SEASON

 

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
by August Wilson
SEP 24 - OCT 20, 2013


Vigil
by Morris Panych
OCT 29 - NOV 17, 2013


Santaland Diaries
by David Sedaris
Dec 3 - DEC 22, 2013
In the Studio Theater

A Christmas Carol
by Hans Christian Andersen
NOV 29 - DEC 22, 2013


Trouble Is My Business

by Joseph Vass
JAN 21 - FEB 16, 2014

Veils
WORLD PREMIERE
by Tom Coash

FEB 25 - MAR 16, 2014


Tribes
by Nina Raine
MAR 25 - APR 13, 2014

The Savannah Disputation
by Evan Smith
APR 22 - MAY 18, 2014