The Snowmaiden

Adapted from the Russian Folk Tale by Bruce Merrill
Directed by Bruce Merrill
Vital Children's Theatre
432 West 42nd Street 3rd fl. (592-4508)
Equity showcase (closes Dec. 30)
Review by Doug DeVita

Parents looking for a joyous way to spend some quality time with their children this holiday season should seriously consider taking them to see Bruce Merrill's adaptation of The Snowmaiden at Vital Children's Theatre, now running weekends through December 30.

As is expected of this company, the production was an exquisite blend of drama, comedy, music, dancing, and life lessons, and it would be difficult indeed to imagine any current family-oriented fare more enchanting than this. Merrill's production, written with sensitivity and wit, directed with aplomb and beautifully performed by a most engaging cast, tells the tale of Snyegurochka (Roka, for short), the daughter of Father Frost and Faerie Spring. Outside of her own world, she cannot show her love, for it would melt her heart. But when she ventures outside her natural environs and befriends Lel and Mila, she decides to take the chance and exhibit earthly love.

As Roka, the Snowmaiden, Sonia Tatninov performed with heartbreaking simplicity. Bill Corry and Sharon Edrei brought natural dignity to their roles of her parents, and Shay Ansari and Angela Trimbur were energetic hoots as Lel and Mila, Trimbur dazzling with her fast talking dexterity and Ansari a delightfully droll comic.

Fernando Romero provided a lovely original score that mixed nicely with several holiday standards, Alyce Finwell choreographed with precise grace, and Staci Shember designed sets and costumes that made this show among the most beautifully sophisticated Vital has ever mounted. No one was credited with the lighting, which was also beautifully done, and technically superior to several recent shows at other companies with far greater resources at their command.

Once again, the audience of children and adults were held in rapt fascination for the entire one- hour running time, and when it was over, one young man was heard to say, quite enthusiastically "Mommy, that was way cool. I wanna go again." What more can be said?

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Music: 2
Directing: 2
Choreography: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 2
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2001 Doug DeVita