‘Freckleface Strawberry’ makes Arizona debut with Valley Youth Theatre - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

‘Freckleface Strawberry’ makes Arizona debut with Valley Youth Theatre

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Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 4:45 pm

Starting Friday, Valley families can see the first production of the off-Broadway show “Freckleface Strawberry: The Musical” before it goes on national tour in 2013.

Based on the semi-autobiographic children’s books written by award-winning actress Julianne Moore and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, “Freckleface Strawberry” tells the story of a little girl who tries desperately to erase her freckles. After using everything from soap to a ski mask to try and make them disappear, she eventually learns to appreciate them.

It’s rare for a regional youth theatre to land the rights to produce a show before its national release, but thanks to Valley Youth Theatre alumna Kimiko Glenn, VYT was able to snag it.

“About a year and a half ago, I was invited to see the original off-Broadway production of Freckleface, starring Kimiko Glenn as Emily,” said Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper. “She connected me to the creative team and they agreed to let us be the first theatre company outside of New York to mount this show.”

Envisioned for the stage by Rose Caiola with music and lyrics by Gary Kupper, the New York and Phoenix productions are similar. There are a few minor changes, like the absence of Strawberry’s little brother and separating the mother and teacher characters previously played by one person  to allow more actor participation, according to Lee Cooley, director of marketing and communications.

“We are always looking for ways to incorporate more actors,” he said. More than 1,000 kids audition for the Valley Youth Theatre every year.

Veritas Preparatory Academy junior Lacey Bookspan plays the title role in the musical, which is appropriate for all ages, particularly children 3-13. And after Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. performance, there will be a Q&A with Glenn.

DETAILS >> 7:30 p.m. Friday; runs through April 22. Valley Youth Theatre, 525 N. First Street, Phoenix. $20-$23. (602) 253-8188 or www.vyt.com.

• Contact writer: sperrault@evtrib.com or (480) 898-5629

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