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Matilda — The Musical (above left) tells the story of how precocious Matilda — along with her teacher and classmates — ultimately prevails over adversity and narrow-mindedness. Finding Neverland (above right) explores how a quartet of imaginative boys and their widowed mother inspire dispirited author J.M. Barrie to create the forever-young Peter Pan. FALL 2016 | artsLife 65 ney Todd — despite the fact that the opening song is titled “Prologue: A Warning to the Audience.” “The squeamish need not fret,” wrote Karen D’Souza in the San Jose Mercury-News, “because all of the soon-to-be dearly departed are sniggering snobs and bloated bores, and it’s a delight to watch them dispatched, sort of like Dexter with patter songs ������������������������������������ �� Disney’s The Little Mermaid (March 7-12, 2017). Based on a Hans Christian Andersen ���������������� �������� �������� ���������������� ������������������ ���������� Disney’s The Little Mermaid remains a swimmingly beautiful love story for all ages. Plucky Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, is fascinated by humans, and wants to pursue the handsome Prince Eric — whom she had previously saved from drowning — ������������������������������ So she bargains with Ursula, the evil sea witch, to trade her tail for legs. Ursula, Triton’s sister and his sworn nemesis, agrees to turn Ariel into a human for three days, during which time she must win a kiss of true love from Eric. If she succeeds, the transformation will become permanent; if she fails, Ursula will claim her soul. And there’s more: The mermaid must surrender her voice, which is transferred to Ursula’s magic nautilus shell. Undaunted, Ariel signs the agreement and swims to the surface. Not surprisingly, complications ensue, and she needs the �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� and Sebastian the crab to win Eric’s heart — and to thwart Ursula’s schemes. The show, produced by the acclaimed Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, features such familiar songs as “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl,” along with new tunes by Oscar-winning Disney composer Alan Menken. The staging is also spectacular, with underwater effects that make cast members ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������- ming underwater. �� Matilda — The Musical (May 9-14, 2017). One of the most beloved family musicals in years, Matilda — The Musical is based on Roald Dahl’s novel about a precocious English girl, Matilda Wormwood, who’s treated poorly at home and school. But she decides to use her intellectual gifts — which include telekinesis — to take a stand and change her destiny. Matilda’s dad is a shady used-car salesman who refers to her as “boy,” since he wanted another son. Her mother is a shal- �������� ���������������������������� �������������������� ������������ ������- losophy is “looks, not books.” In fact, Matilda’s parents hold reading in contempt, and mock their daughter’s passion for books. �������� �������������������� ���������� ���� �������������� ������ �������� ����- pathetic teacher, Miss Honey. But Miss Honey, too, is oppressed. Her tormentor is Miss PHOTOS BY JOAN MARCUS (MATILDA — THE MUSICAL) AND CAROL ROSEGG (FINDING NEVERLAND)


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