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Children's Theatre to present 'The Emperor's New Clothes'

NEWS TO USE The Duluth Playhouse Children's Theatre Arts presents "The Emperor's New Clothes" Oct. 18-21 and Oct. 25-28 at the Duluth Playhouse in the Depot, 506 W. Michigan St. Show times are at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with matinees ...

NEWS TO USE
The Duluth Playhouse Children's Theatre Arts presents "The Emperor's New Clothes" Oct. 18-21 and Oct. 25-28 at the Duluth Playhouse in the Depot, 506 W. Michigan St. Show times are at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for children.
To make reservations, call 733-7555.
More than 30 young actors are in final rehearsals for one of the funniest children's comedies around -- "The Emperor's New Clothes."
This upbeat adaptation of the familiar tale has been modernized. Now, instead of an emperor living in a medieval castle, there's a mayor of a modern town, but his connection to the fairy tale is still strong.
"The mayor's name is M. Peror," said Tyler Lane, 12, one of the young actors who will be performing when the play opens at the Duluth Playhouse on Thursday, Oct. 18. Tyler plays Mortimer Method.
And like the emperor in the original story, Mayor M. Peror, played by Cody McKenzie, is obsessed about clothes.
Not only does he have an insatiable desire to be pampered with outlandish outfits, he, his wife (Jasmine Zeppa) and daughters (Abby Klassen, Addie Sandbeck and Christina Mann) spend so much time choosing new clothes to wear that the other business of the city has fallen by the wayside.
Enter two tricksters, Wart and Hog, played by Ginger Jentzen and Morgan Swor, who wander into town and start playing their own con games.
"They do magic tricks, but everyone thinks the tricks are real," said John Cutshall, 9, who plays "The Honest Boy" and is a member of the Neener's Nabobs in the play.
After everyone in town is convinced that the tricksters are real, Wart and Hog open an empty trunk and claim it's full of magical cloth that can only be seen by those who are worthy of their jobs. Of course, everyone oohs and aahs over it -- especially the mayor.
In fact, the mayor insists that only his family can have clothes made out of this magical cloth.
When his new outfit is finally finished, the mayor proudly shows it off in public. Everyone chooses to see the magic cloth except the Honest Boy, who speaks the truth. "I can't see any clothes," he shouts.
"It's very funny to watch," Tyler said. The actors, of course, are wearing something -- a stage version of underwear, Waterman said.
The play, which is an adaption by Karen Boettcher-Tate, has also been fun to direct, said Paul Waterman, who is co-directing "The Emperor's New Clothes" with Pat Castellano.
"She's been really great to work with," Waterman said. "I'm pretty much of a new guy at directing."
Although Waterman said he has been involved with theater in one way or another since he was a young boy, this is only the third play he has directed.
He previously directed "Cinderella" with the Port Town Part Time Players and "The God Child" for his church, Great Lakes Gospel.
"The Emperor's New Clothes" has been a challenge. Coordinating more than 35 children and teen-agers is not exactly easy, he said.
But the result should make everyone in the community laugh, and they certainly will have a great time at the show.
"It really is a good show, because it shows how children just kind of show us where we are sometimes," Castellano said. "They just stop us cold and say, 'Hey, look, this is what it really is.' They're not afraid to say it. It's a cute show."
The actors come from the community as well as from the children's acting classes at the Duluth Playhouse and the Peer Education Players.
"I've been very impressed with the Playhouse's set up," he said. "Ray (Fike), who does lighting and design, is very experienced and knowledgeable, and Colleen (Daugherty) is just a fantastic creative director. I've been delighted with my involvement."
Those who see the show will be delighted, too. All the elements of comedy are there, he said, including great lines delivered by a talented crew.
"The Emperor's New Clothes" opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. The public is invited.

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