Fanciful theater abounds this July, starting with an energetic retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, moving on to the globe-hopping children's classic, The Little Prince, and the Native American tale Walk Two Moons.
Forget about ancient Greece. This rollicking version takes place in the town of West Athens, California during the sock-hopping days of the 1950s, but it mostly keeps true to the original script. Hermia and Lysander are in love, but the girl's father (nicknamed "The Duke of Earl" in this account) wants her to marry Demetrius, who's being pursued by Helena. So they all run away to a mysterious forest, where mischievous spirits interfere with their plans. Oberon, the fairy king who's dressed like the King of Rock & Roll, gets his servant Puck to use a "Love Potion #9" to properly match the teenagers. But the plan goes awry: The girls try to scratch each other's eyes out, and the boys start dueling with deadly sharp rulers!
This fanciful production features some of the most enthusiastic young actors working in New York. They greet audiences by blowing bubbles when they enter, and then charm unsuspecting theatergoers with their magic wands even after the show ends. A doo-wop group peppers the action by singing such Golden Oldies as "Wake Up, Little Suzie," "I Will Follow Him," and "Stop in the Name of Love." Titania and her minions are decked out in brightly colored angel wings and plenty of glitter. In addition, this production's "rude mechanicals" perform the play-within-a-play with the right amount of over-the-top outlandishness.
For a more contemporary classic, turn to Antoine Saint Exupery's The Little Prince, which comes to the Pelican Studio Theater from July 6 to 31. It follows a young aviator who's crash-landed in the African desert, where he finds a prince from a faraway planet who takes him on amazing, intergalactic journeys. They visit the world's tiniest planet, and encounter such strange creatures as a many-armed businessman who collects the stars of the sky. An eight-person international ensemble takes on all of the characters.
Walk Two Moons has nothing to do with space travel, but, like The Little Prince, it deals in life lessons. A teenaged girl named Salamanca tries to find out what happened to her mother (who has disappeared), while on a cross-country trip with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she remembers the similar story of her imaginative friend Phoebe Winterbottom, and both girls learn about the definition of family and the necessity of change. Julia Jordan's adaptation of Sharon Chreech's Newbery Medal-winning book premieres July 13 for a month-long run at TheatreWorks' new home: Off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theatre.