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I really appreciate Playscripts and their work toward creating better theater and theater experiences for all. Jay Muldoon Theater Teacher, Fairfield, OH
General Information
Happily Ever After, for Every Kind of Audience

Flipping through the TV channels or on a trip to the movies, you might notice that fairy tales are everywhere this fall. ABC and NBC are in on the action with Once Upon a Time and the darker Grimm, and last year’s Red Riding Hood was just the start of a slew of fairy tale films being produced for teenage audiences. Just outside our office here at Playscripts, Inc., a shiny two-story billboard has gone up, advertising Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman–we can’t seem to get away! But then again, why would we want to? Fairy tales endure for a reason: they’re compellingly simple at times, but can also be deeply symbolic. They’re familiar, but also endlessly malleable, able to adapt for any audience or storyteller. It’s no wonder they’re making such a comeback on both the big and small screens. But take a look through the Playscripts, Inc. catalog, and you’ll find that fairy tales have been going strong on the stage for quite a while! In fact, with so many different types of fairy tale plays available through Playscripts, you won’t have any trouble finding a fairy tale adaptation that will work for you and your theatre’s needs. Whether you’re looking for short plays or full-length, plays performed for young audiences or by young people, or whether you want to create a fairy tale just for adults, here are some plays that will have your audience charmed:

For schools who’d like to give their young actors some fairy tale roles to chew on, but who aren’t looking to tell the familiar traditional tales, Jodi Picoult’s musical Over the Moon or the rollicking play The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon by Don Zolidis are both large-cast comedies that bring together characters from many different stories into one zany plot. Both shows are appropriate for schools, with Over the Moon recommended for middle and high school actors and audiences, and The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, available as a full-length play and as a one-act, recommended for high schoolers. High school fans of NBC’s crime drama Grimm will also get a kick out of Jonathan Rand’s Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit, which combines comedy, crime, and big bad wolves galore. Forensic teams or one-act competitors will find a lot to love in Charming Princes by Emily C.A. Snyder, a clever and empowering Cinderella story with a twist, that runs only 15-25 minutes.

Community theatres or high school troupes interested in telling a more traditional story should take a look at Bob May’s Snow White and the Magic Mirror or Timothy Mason’s adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. These two tales draw less on Disney and more on their European ancestors for inspiration, and subtly update the tales for the stage while remaining true to their original forms. Both are full-length, and could be performed by either young actors or adults.

For adult troupes who perform for young audiences, a sure winner in the fairy tale category is Elizabeth Wong’s Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King, a wild 45-minute comedy loosely based on Chinese folklore that is full of, as the main character says, “crazy excitement!” A darker, full-length take on Eastern folklore for young audiences is In a Grove: Four Japanese Ghost Stories by Eric Coble. These four haunting tales are not light fare, but can still be performed for a younger crowd, and give any audience a taste of magic. If comedy and more widely familiar tales are still your taste, Marjorie Sokoloff’s adaptation of Snow White, meant to be performed by children’s theatres, is a fun and forgiving look into the mind and motives of the evil Queen.

Finally, even adults get to have grown-up fun with fairy tales–why not?–in Billy Aronson’s “thoroughly bastardized,” dark comedy version of Little Red Riding Hood, in which any inappropriate insinuation is laid bare, and no path left un-wandered-from. At 20-40 minutes, this fairy tale is a delightful bit of adult nonsense.

So don’t let all the magic happen in Hollywood–there are fairy tales to be told by every kind of theatre group, for every kind of audience!

— Cate Fricke, Playscripts Intern

"Little Red Riding Hood", The Armadillo Theatre Group, Fournos Theatre, Athens, Greece (2000).

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