The Music: The show introduces children to great classical masterworks in a sugar-coated dose. The score is a patchwork of three 19th century composers: Edvard Grieg, Englebert Humperdinck, and Nicolo Paganini. The show features new lyrics to some favorite orchestral selections from the Peer Gynt Suite. There are also highlights from Humperdinck's opera, Hansel and Gretel. The beautiful "Children's Prayer" and "Brother, Come and Dance with Me" are direct quotes. Other melodies from the opera are used in a new context with new lyrics, and "Recitative and Verse" (from cut number five) is original music.
About the Production: Hansel, Gretel, and the Little Green Dragon is a musical treat for the whole family. The show itself was a family affair, as it was written and performed by Ms Ferguson, her two sisters, two nieces, and some friends-all good musicians. This original cast recording is the debut of singing sensation Alexandra Haines, age 10 (Gretel). She sings the beautiful duet, "The Children's Prayer" with her mother, Julie Haines. Mother and daughter have been singing together since Allie was a baby. Her Cousin Rachel Ward, age 10 (Tina) put in a fine comic performance, and helped in editing. Rachel's mother, Nancy Huddleston, plays the Tooth Fairy here, and also the piano. Nancy helped greatly in crafting the score, and was the script co-editor. Charlie Redd (Hansel), age 12, is also from a musical family, and is a gifted actor, poet, and guitarist. David Troup brings a robust baritone to the role of "Father." The family and friends are joined by puppet friends, Alouette the Dragon and her grandfather, King Salamander, both played by Ms Ferguson.
The Story: Hansel, Gretel, and the Little Green Dragon is a musical play in one act-the classic fairy tale with a few twists. As the show opens, the mischievous green dragon Alouette-pet of the witch Carlotta-is found eating candy off the gingerbread house. Carlotta, who has a bad habit of turning children into cookies, wishes to send Alouette to the nearby farming village, Humperdinck, to find two children to be "dessert" for her upcoming witch party.
But Alouette has already been to the village. She's been sneaking there to eat beans from the farmer's fields. The witch feeds her all the wrong foods-only sweets. Alouette can no longer breathe fire and has a bad case of dragon gas. It is here in Humperdinck, that Alouette first observes Hansel and Gretel. She is charmed by the happy children, and gazed fondly at them while munching on the bean bushes.
Hansel and Gretel set out for Heidelberg to sell tofu, their Mother's latest invention. Father is a soldier again and away from the farm, so the children must go to market alone. Mother warns them to stay on the main road, but they soon become hopelessly lost in the Haunted Forest. Someone, or something (guess who?), has been eating the soybeans they've been dropping to mark their way. At last, children and dragon meet in a happy, song-filled encounter. But Alouette, remembering her assignment to deliver two children to the witch, warns them, "Run for your lives!" and then flies away. Hansel and Gretel follow her through the woods straight to the witch's lair...
A gingerbread house! Hansel dances for joy and stuffs himself with candy. Gretel is cautious and wants to leave, but too late. The witch Carlotta appears and casts an evil spell on the children. They stiffen into cookies, and are nearly frosted for good, but the Tooth Fairy intervenes to save them. Tina has been spiking the witch's brew with tofu, which renders her Aunt Carlotta nice. The parents find the lost children. Father has come home-the war is over. All join in singing the joyous finale, "Brother, Sister Dance with Me," and the little green dragon breathes fire at last.
About the Author: Playwright Pamela Ferguson is a freelance violinist, violin teacher, and puppeteer in the Washington DC area. She teaches at Levine School of Music and also plays jazz as well as classical violin. Pam swims, practices Tai Chi, and lives with her inner-smarty-pants, Alouette the Dragon, a violin-playing puppet whose antics delight children of all ages.