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Prince Not-So-Charming
On-stage now through Jan. 27, Arden Theatre’s witty, modernized version of the classic Sleeping Beauty involves a complete role reversal. In a lighthearted nod to budding feminists, the story’s dozing damsel isn’t a helpless princess, and our hero, Prince Owain, is a dud. Forget the Disney version; this prince lacks bravery, talent and competence. As for the princess, her name is Briar Rose, and she’s smart and independent, with a sidekick who is half-dragon. Recent University of the Arts graduate Nako Adodoadji plays the heroine. Doug Hara, who’s performed on Broadway and was the lead in last season’s Arden production of A Prayer for Owen Meany, plays half-dragon Gryff. Children 5 and older should love this show. Adults $30, kids 4-16 $26. Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Call (215) 922-1122 or visit ardentheatre.org.Meghan McGarrigle


 

No Place Like Oz
Start the new year on a positive note and help Storybook Musical Theatre celebrate its 16th anniversary Jan. 8-12 with an uplifting (and just a little scary) production of The Wizard of Oz. Kids will cheer, shudder and perhaps cover their eyes as they follow Dorothy’s journey down the yellow brick road and into the hearts of traveling companions Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. Alisa Stamps of King of Prussia plays The Good Witch. Her credits include the recent production of Titanic at the Ritz Theater, concerts with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and an appearance on PBS with Denyce Grave and Patti LaBelle. Another local, Bill Fitzpatrick of West Chester, plays the Tin Man. All Storybook productions are appropriate for ages 3 and older—and everyone gets to meet the cast after each show for a handshake, autograph or photo. $10-$12. Bluett Theater, Saint Joseph’s University, 56th Street and Overbrook Avenue, Philadelphia. Call (215) 659-8850 or visit storybookmusical.org.M.M.


To Die For
Main Line hearts will catch fire Jan. 22 at the Academy of Vocal Arts’ 2008 season debut, “Grand Passions,featuring acts from Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera and La forza del destino and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, three of opera’s most dramatic and compelling works. Un ballo in maschera follows the assassination of Sweden’s King Gustav III, who was shot while attending a masked ball and died 13 days later from his wounds. The opera’s historical accuracy was tainted by government interference over sensitive political material, but its flawless blend of Shakespeare-like irony, brilliance and comedy endures. Forbidden love, murder and deception inform La forza del destino and Manon Lescaut. The latter, based on Antoine François Prévost’s 1731 novel, L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut, was Puccini’s third opera and his first great success. Songs are performed with a full orchestra and sung in Italian with English super-titles. 7:30 p.m. Centennial Hall, the Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave., Haverford. Call (215) 735-1685 or visit avaopera.org. —M.M.

For more upcoming events, see our Calendar.

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