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Go Ask Mom

'Charlotte's Web' delights young audiences

Posted April 11, 2016
Updated April 12, 2016

Photo by Elspeth McClanahan.
Courtesy: Raleigh Little Theatre

Note: The show's run was extended through April 23 thanks to demand!

Raleigh Little Theater rounds out this season's youth series with a stage adaptation of a classic - "Charlotte's Web," which runs through April 23.

For anybody who hasn't read the book by E.B. White or seen the movie version, another classic, the story weaves the tale of Wilbur, the pig, a runt saved by a kindly farm girl named Fern and the compassionate spider, Charlotte. Charlotte works to save Wilbur from the slaughterhouse by inscribing words such as "some pig" and "radiant" in her web.

It can't be easy to tell a story that so many know so well - especially one that involves talking animals and a spider that writes words on her web. But through lights and stage magic, RLT's production more than works - especially for the little ones.

"That was the best show I've ever seen!" said my six-year-old moments after leaving the theater.

The show mixes experienced adult actors with younger ones who are just beginning to build their resume on stage (another reminder that these community theater programs are fantastic places for kids who are interested theater). Three local high schoolers - Sam Heath, Skysha Jones and Kathryn Szypulksi - guide the story throughout the 1 hour and 15 minute show as narrators.

Mercedes Ruiz, a sophomore at Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh, played the nearly always optimistic and naive Wilbur with energy. Tyler Estridge, a sixth grader at Centennial Middle School in Raleigh, as Fern always seemed to bound on and off stage - exactly as you'd picture a young farm girl.

To build her web, Heather J. Strickland as Charlotte took to aerial silks, spinning and weaving the fabric. It was pretty mesmerizing to watch Strickland, with 15 years of experience in local theater, spin (so-to-speak) the tale.

A couple of times during the show, the actors ran through the audience - a fun addition for young ones who are just getting introduced to live theater. When the curtain went down, they all ran off stage and waited in the lobby for autographs and pictures (another experience my kindergartner gives two thumbs up).

Tickets are $10 for kids ages 12 and under and $14 for adults. A special audio-described performance is 7:30 p.m., April 20. For that, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 12 and under. Tickets sell really quick for these shows so if you want to see it before the run ends, get your tickets now!

At 11:30 a.m., Sunday, the N.C. Museum of Art will host a Pop-Up Art in the Community event in the Rose Garden next door. Take part in the activity and then see the 1 p.m., Sunday show.

The show takes place at the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre at 301 Pogue St. in Raleigh.


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