Complex production of ‘The Snow Queen’ is funny and warm-hearted
With 10 to 12 scene changes, 30 actors and elaborate costumes and makeup, The Hans Christian Andersen Theater production of “The Snow Queen” could have been a long, chaotic presentation.
Instead, it is a lively, well-organized, and humorous version of the story based on Hans Christian Andersen’s works that will be presented at the Greenville Area Community Center four times during Danish Festival weekend.
“It is a very complex production,” Assistant Director Annette Sandtviet said. “Using the triangular pillars offers a variety of scenes without having to constantly move big pieces of scenery.”
The tale centers around the Snow Queen, played confidently by AJ Stephens, who is looking for a child to abduct. She contracts with Cobweb Spider, portrayed by Cal Kreiner.
“I would help you look for a child, a truly cruel child,” says the sinister spider.
When friends Kai, played with strength by Vincent Frank, and Gerda, portrayed with assuredness by Lauren Sandtveit, josh and tease each other, a splinter of glass from a magic mirror falls into his heart, turning him into a cold-hearted boy. He is easily lured away to the Snow Queen.
Gerda makes it her mission to rescue Kai, and she is helped along the way by the sun goddess Bhima (Olivia Tower), talking ravens Scruff (Audrey Stephens) and Auntie Peck (Mya Feys), Princess Lena (Maddi Hunton), Prince Gabe Platte, and more.
The slapstick humor between Cobweb and King Grin (Tyler DeGood) is well-timed and the interaction between the Robbers is hilarious.
Scene changes are quick, with pillars being turned in the background while a character addresses the audience in the foreground.
“The Danish Festival board and I discuss this, and pick a theme and we now have it set for the next three years,” Director Ruth Hansen said. “This was a good choice because it allows us to have a lot of roles, getting more kids involved.”
“The Snow Queen” is a funny and warm-hearted play where good will triumph over evil in the end.
“Snow Queen” at a glance
What: “The Snow Queen”
Where: Greenville Area Community Center
When: 7 p.m. Thursday; 1:30 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday; 1:30 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $10, available at the door or by calling (616) 754-9163
CAST: Bhima, Olivia Tower; Snow Queen, AJ Stephens; Cobweb Spider, Cal Kreiner; Soft Bear, Alli Fisher; Tough Bear, Anna Stanford; Hobgoblins, Bergan Bolthouse, Secrett Hunt, Eva Manhart, Gavin Platte, Hallie Sage and Trevor VanLoo; Kai, Vincent Frank; Gerda, Lauren Sandtveit; Grandma, Alexis Rush; Snowflakes, Dannah Gunn and Emma Skogseth; Scruff, Audrey Stephens; Auntie Peck, Mya Feys; King Grin, Tyler DeGood; Princess Lena, Maddi Huntoon; Prince, Gabe Platte; Tin Soldiers, Emily Haen, Kaitlyn Haen and Vicki Kikos; Dolls, Katia Corwin, Kylee Kikos and Isabella Tower; Jack-in-the-box, Gwen Platte; Robber Woman, Audrey Stephens; Redhead, Secrett Hunt; Muscles, Trevor VanLou; Twitch, Eva Manhart; Niko, Bergan Bolthouse; Tiny, Tyler DeGood; Flower, Mya Feys; Slim, Vincent Frank; Boxer, Gabe Platte; Frankie, Gavin Platte; Sunny, Alex Rush; Reindeer, Hallie Sage; Ghost Chorus-Katia Corwin, Kaitlyn Haen, Emily Haen, Maddi Huntoon; Kylee Kikos, Vicki Kikos, Gwen Platte and Isabella Tower.
CREW: Jamee Gunn, producer; Ruth Hansen, director; Annette Sandtveit, assistant director/musician/pianist; Brittney Bassett, technical director; Jim Mason, choreographer; Bobbi Platte, costume mistress; Holly Gatchel prop mistress; Linda Custer, makeup; Courtney Despelder, lead makeup; Chris Stoutjesdyk, stage manager; Brittney Bassett, light design and sound design; Brittney Bassett and Josilyn Katterjohn, set design; Philip Rewa, Brianna VanHouten, Alisha Gatchel, Kathryn Hagadus, Geoff Hansen and Meagan Draper, crew.
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.