Theatre for Young Audiences one hour musical “Little Red” to have world premiere at SCERA Feb. 5-23

(Orem, Utah) — As he headed toward an interview in Los Angeles to pitch a show to the Bravo television network, Chase Ramsey took a call to explain his newest project called “Little Red” that will have its world premiere at SCERA Center for the Arts in February.

“It’s kind of my last hurrah at a place that feels like home,” says the director and actor who is the on-screen personality for Dream365 TV’s California Dream Eater and a director for the Walt Disney company. Ramsey is relocating his family to California from Utah and has directed and acted at SCERA for many years, after starting out as a young boy in the SCERA Youth Theatre program.

He and collaborator, David Smith – a seasoned actor, director and composer – are presenting their third musical at SCERA as part of the organization’s popular Theatre for Young Audiences program.

Performances of the one hour musical will begin Feb. 5 and continue through Feb. 23 on Mondays and Fridays at 7 p.m. The shows, designed for families with children, also provide morning field trips for school groups, which are already sold out.

Reserved seat tickets to the public Monday and Friday evening performances are $6 for adults and $4 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older.  They are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, or in person at the main office at SCERA, 745 South State, Orem, open 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12noon-6pm.

“Little Red” tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but in a creative way. “We did what Disney does in that we took a parable and built it into a great big story.” The basic tale is simple with Red going into the forest, encountering a wolf in the woods on the way to give food to her grandmother. The wolf tries to eat the grandma and the girl, but ultimately thwarted by a local woodsman.

“Some versions of this classic tale are quite dark, and we did not want that as part of our version of the story,” Ramsey explains. “We always try to have a message, and we selected bravery. We decided to build our story around Little Red Riding Hood, because she is the bravest of them all.”

Ramsey, who has partnered with Smith for “Peter Pan’s Great Adventure” and “Alice in Wonderland,” explains that, “We started this project to provide shows that can educate and bring a message to children. We find a story that fits our message and build a script and music around it.”

In selecting bravery for their topic, they also emphasized that bravery isn’t always smart. Going into the woods alone is probably not the smartest idea. “What if she hadn’t met the huntsman there,” Ramsey asks. “We wanted Red to be brave but also to keep her head up, focus and listen to what is around here. We are making her a hero, and bravery is not the only quality that makes a hero.”

Because Ramsey and Smith wanted a light version of what could be a dark tale, they are doing the set in bright colors. The town is reminiscent of the village in “Beauty and the Beast,” and it and the costumes are designed to be bright and beautiful. The woods, too, are lovely, with bright colors and birds in the trees.

“Unlike the usual forbidding woods, these are not terrifying, but the villagers think they are,” Ramsey says. “That’s because the wolf is always coming out with signs that read, “Stay Out” and “Beware of the Wolf.” By using a thunder sheet as a prop, the wolf creates loud noises as a way to create the scariness.”

In reality, the wolf is not frightening at all. He believes the woods are getting too crowded and everybody is eating all his food. He makes up a story of the big, bad wolf to keep the town residents away from his stomping grounds. One of the final lines in the musical lays it out clearly and comically:  “Oh, I’m not trying to eat you, I’m a vegetarian.”

The six-member cast includes Rilee Crump as Little Red, Shawn M. Mortensen as the Big Bad Wolf, and Nicolas Thomas as the butcher, whose brother, the woodsman, is played by Chase Ramsey. Also performing is Shannon Follette as Granny and TJ Thomas as the Baker.

Smith wrote the music and lyrics, and is serving as music director, while Ramsey wrote the script book and is serving as director. Others assisting Ramsey are Danielle Berry as stage manager, Shawn M. Mortensen as scenic designer, Deborah Bowman as costume designer, Chase Elison as sound and lighting designer, and Christy Norton as props designer.

Ramsey said he cast himself in a role, because he wanted to play on the SCERA stage one more time before leaving Utah. “This is likely the last time I’m directing, but David and I will continue to create these Theatre for Young Audiences shows. I’ll be sure to fly in next year to see it. I believe it is important to have new works created in Utah Valley.”

SCERA President and CEO Adam J. Robertson agrees. “We are happy building a collection of original works that help introduce children to the magic of live theatre.” For licensing information or to obtain a perusal of the show, contact SCERA at (801) 225-ARTS or send an email inquiry to adam@scera.org.

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APRIL BERLIN

Operations Manager/Marketing & Development 

SCERA Email: april@scera.org

Office Phone:  (801) 225-ARTS ext. 1011

SCERA Web Site:  www.scera.org

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