HUDSON -- The classic story of Pinocchio comes to life on the Phipps stage in “Once Upon a Pine: The Adventures of Pinocchio” premiering Saturday, Feb. 20.
The production follows Geppetto, a toymaker who wants a child of his own and finds one in the marionette that comes to life.
This is a Pinocchio that people haven’t seen before, Director John Potter said.
“It’s a fun, highly theatrical show that I think all ages will enjoy it,” he said.
The story moves quickly, drawing audiences in from the start and carrying them through it easily.
The show follows a traveling theater group of 14 players, half of which serve as narrators. They tell the story and also help create sound and visual effects along the way, Potter said.
This includes shadow plays as well as the use of a magic lantern, what was essentially the early slide projector used in entertainment at that time.
“My goal to the production staff was to surprise and delight,” he said.
This piece was a highly collaborative production, Potter said. Scenic and lighting designer Brian Proball, costume designer Michelle Lehman, sound designer Tom Dahle, choreographer Christina Leines and properties Ellen Denzer MacSwain played major roles in bringing together the visual, theatrical production.
Working with the actors was a joy, Potter said.
“It’s just been so much fun, and we hope that the audience feels the same way,” he said.
Emmanuel Hanson, who plays the Blue Fairy, said she’s glad to be able to put on a show at all and is grateful for the audience to come and support them.
“I really enjoyed our rehearsal process, figuring out characters, working with other cast members and the wonderful directors who have made this show possible,” Hanson said.
The set up with the narrators and traveling theater troupe feels like a play within a play, said Mary Rother, who plays Pinocchio.
“It’s not something that we’ve done before over here, and I do think that’s very interesting,” Rother said.
Pinocchio, an extrovert who interacts with all sorts of crazy characters, is a fun role to play, she added.
“The whole thing is him experiencing new things,” she said. “It’s basically like the first few days of his life.”
Audiences will enjoy the fast-paced, high energy of the show, Rother said.
“Once Upon a Pine: The Adventures of Pinocchio” runs through Sunday, March 7, at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Performances will feature a socially distanced seating plan with $25 capacity. Masks are required.