‘The Snow Queen’: The dark side of serendipity

Kai (Tim Homsley) is under the Snow Queen’s (Jane Pfitsch) spell in San Jose Rep’s world premiere musical adaptation of "The Snow Queen."

When Hans Christian Anderson wrote “The Snow Queen” in 1845, he could never have fathomed in his wildest imagination (and as we all know he had a wild imagination), that his story would become a steampunk musical. He never dreamed that in the never, never, once-upon-a-time land of future theatre there was a director named Rick Lombardo and an associate director named Kirsten Brandt who would supply songs and lyrics and a reworked story. A talented Haddon Kime adds music to create an enchanting (at times confusing) “Snow Queen” that tells a story of valor, loyalty and the triumph of love.
“The Snow Queen” tells the story of Gerda who embarks on perilous journey to a cold, dark land to save her childhood friend Kai, who has been bewitched and controlled by the evil and mystifying Snow Queen.
Eryn Murman as Gerda, Tim Homsley as Kai, with Jane Pfitsch as the Snow Queen deliver strong, difficult performances with a solid supporting cast playing a cornucopia of colorful and dark roles.
Scenic designer Erik Flatmo used dressed-up ladders and moving scaffolding for scene changes that became interesting transitions for the characters to move from place to place. The well-rehearsed stage hands deserve an appreciative “atta boy” for their quiet, unnoticed moving of scenery and ladders.
The plot gets a little confusing and a cut here and there could tighten scenes and shorten this extra-long tale.
The band is made up of a keyboard conductor Dolores Duran-Cefelu, bass Andrew Currier and percussion with Michael Barsimanto, who provided the sound of many instruments. Timing and cues were not an easy task with this book and they brought it in with a flawless effort.
San Jose Rep always generates interesting productions with their delightful theatre. Creativity soars with what they do with the stage and it’s always well done with a stretch of grand imagination.
By the way, did you know that many of the original fairytales of Anderson and Grimms’ time were written by women and for adults? We learn something every day.
Camille Bounds is the Theatre and Arts Editor for Sunrise Publications.
Where: San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose
Through: Dec. 22
Tickets: $34-$79
Details: (408) 367-7255 or visit www.sjrep.com.

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