Here comes Pippi LongstockingPleasanton Civic Arts Stage Company is presenting an adaptation of the classic children's tale "Pippi Longstocking," about the irrepressible youngster with a heart of gold, starting next weekend at the Firehouse Arts Center.
Fun classic tale opening at Firehouse Theater
"Pippi" features more than 40 local children in two alternating casts and is directed by Pleasanton playwright, theater artist, educator and dad John Ribovich, artistic director of Calaveras Repertory Theatre in Milpitas.
"Civic Arts combines the best of the youth and professional theater worlds, allowing young actors to work with professional designers and directors to produce consistently high quality theater while learning the importance of teamwork, community and the performing arts," Ribovich said.
Guest artist Jessica Smith plays the role of the imperious Mrs. Prysselius, and the title role will be shared by Peyton Cook of Pleasanton and Arianna Feemster of Danville. Both girls have appeared in previous Civic Arts Stage Company shows, but this is their first leading role.
Based on the children's books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, and adapted by Thomas W. Olson with music by Roberta Carlson, this popular version features Pippi's most famous and lovable antics -- flying off the top of her house, lifting a strongman with one hand, and causing chaos at a ladies' tea party -- complete with her crazy mismatched outfits and signature red braids.
"'Pippi' is so much fun because she does the things we all wish we could do -- she has superpowers, she defies authority, she has unlimited access to pirate gold -- but in the end she chooses friendship with other children over everything else," said Artistic Director Rebecca J. Ennals of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, which partners with Pleasanton for the three Civic Arts Stage Company productions this season.
The production design team includes set and lighting designer Steve Mannshardt, sound designer Ryan Lee Short, and props designer Kristin Werder, all core company members who return from previous shows with Civic Arts. New costume designer Magenta Brooks and Assistant Director Maryssa Wanlass join the team for the first time.