The classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” will be brought to life, but this time as a musical. “The Red Cape” will be performed at the Glenwood Life Center on Friday, June 8. The original play was written by Glen Cove resident Christopher Moll.
Moll is the artistic director of Jazz Hands Children's Theatre in Glenwood Landing, which offers theater classes, camps and performances to local children.While “The Red Cape” has been performed by Jazz Hands in the past, this is the first time the show will incorporate adult actors into the mix. The purpose? To introduce audiences to the North Shore Village Theatre.
“This is a new community theater that I formed, and this is our very first production,” Moll, 45, said. “We thought it would be a fun way to introduce the company to the community.”
The mission of the North Shore Village Theatre is to bring education, entertainment and enrichment through the performing arts to actors of all ages. The idea came to him to create the group while Moll was working with Jazz Hands. He realized there was a need for a greater theater presence on the North Shore.
“This has been a dream of mine for this community, in particular, because we don’t have a lot of theater,” he said, “and to actually see it happen after two years of planning, thinking and meeting is an emotional thing.”
“The Red Cape,” written in 2011, and retells the tale of a young, naïve girl with a red hooded cape taking a trip to her grandmother’s house. Along the way, however, she faces temptation to travel off the right path.
Moll reimagined the story to include a group of friends who accompany Red on her journey. “Red’s not the most focused girl. She doesn’t stay on the right path, and that’s when trouble happens,” he said. “So her friends help her stay on the path she’s supposed to take.”
In “The Red Cape,” the villainous Big Bad Wolf now has some brazen sidekicks who sing and dance as they stalk Red through the forest. “I thought about how cool it would be to have a wolf pack, and in this show the adults are doing it, and they’re having a lot of fun being sassy,” Moll said. “The wolves have taken on a whole new theme.”
Having adults and children work together during rehearsals has brought a new perspective to the production, he said. “The kids are able to see the adults be silly and carefree, and that’s been cool to watch,” he said. “A number of kids in the show are my students from Jazz Hands, and this is the first time they’re stepping outside of the classroom and into a more professional setting.”
This is Michael Renga’s second time performing in “The Red Cape.” The 10-year-old Glen Cove resident said he believes acting at a young age among seasoned professionals can help boost one’s self-esteem.
“Having kids perform is important, because if you’re shy, it could help you get the courage to talk in front of an audience,” Michael said. “I just ran for student council treasurer, and because I did the play, it made me feel a lot more confident.”
Ella Dahlke-Moll, 11, Christopher’s daughter, has found performing a means to defy the odds. “We’ve put lots of effort into it, and it shows how hard the kids have worked,” she said. “Some people underestimate children, so it’s really good for our community to see how important theater is to our environment.”
Apart from providing a space for children and adult actors to interact, “The Red Cape” sends a sweet message. “The song at the end is called ‘The Ending Is Up To You,’ and it’s about how all your decisions don’t have to be fatal,” Moll explained. “You can change them and mend them, but it’s up to you. You have to stay on the path that’s true for you.”