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World Premier of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe


Lucy, played by Grace Ellinghaus meets "the fawn," Mr. Tumnus, portrayed by Landon Kime. Photo by Zack Brodie.

It is not every day that Radford University produces a world premiere, but a new adaptation by Associate Professor Wesley Young is about to hit the boards. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” premieres Saturday, Nov. 16 at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the Pridemore Playhouse.

Prior to the public performances throughout the week, thousands of area schoolchildren will visit RU to attend the production in the annual children’s theatre tradition.

The play is based on C.S. Lewis’ classic fantasy series. Characters Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie escape London during the war and stay in the large countryside home of an old professor. On a rainy day, the old house begging to be explored, little Lucy finds her way through a large wardrobe into the magical kingdom of Narnia. But an evil witch has cast a spell and all of Narnia hangs in the balance.

On his adaptation, Professor Young shares, “I read the book again and it came to life for me all over. I also tried to put myself in that wonderful state of susceptibility children possess in which they can readily accept people and things at face value.”

He strives to tell the story in a brisk, fun way that will keep the spirit of wonder of that is prevalent in the original story.

“It is inherently dramatic, as in it is easy to visualize and it goes without saying that it is very engaging. I also saw it in a way I hadn’t before. I guess having read it as a kid I wasn’t as focused on the message which I see as ‘to love one another and to love the good.’ I also love that Narnia is a place where children can triumph in a way the children can’t in their ‘real’ world,” says Young.

Many students involved also share fond memories of the book. Lighting designer Erin Bradley recalls, “I first read the novel when I was about ten and loved the fantasy aspect of the story and the animals with human qualities.”

The production process has proved exciting for Kenzie VanderWerker, who plays the White Witch. She notes that “the whole cast has loads of fun, and yet we know why we are there – to make a brilliant eye-catching magical journey for the audience.”

Dozens more students are involved onstage and backstage in the production including Ricky Parks, Maddie Cindrich, Justin Kline, Grace Ellinghaus, George Hairston, Molly Roan, James Bristow, Landon Kime, Courtney Ratcliffe, Zach Goodman, Nic Sticinski, Mark Aaron, Jessie Lowman, Brandon Duncan, Ian Gammarino, JoHannah Shelton, Courtney Rice, Luke Clark, Stephanie Acup, and C.J. Spicher.

Working alongside faculty in key leadership positions are Kyle Gillikin (stage manager), Matt Barber (Assistant Scenic Designer), and Yaritza Pacheco-Lopez (Sound Designer). New faculty member and longtime resident designer at Mill Mountain Theatre Jimmy Ray Ward, designs the scenery.

Tickets are $3 for children, $5 for seniors (55+), faculty and staff, $6 general admission, and free with an RU Student ID. Group rates (10+) are available. Tickets are can be purchased at the Porterfield Box Office or by calling (540) 831-5289. The Box Office is open from noon to 6:00 p.m. and one hour before the start of each performance. Visit the Department of Theatre and Cinema website for more information at www.radford.edu/theatre.

Nov 11, 2013

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