SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – A beloved pig and his spider friend weave a beautiful friendship as E.B. White’s classic tale Charlotte’s Web makes a return visit to Main Street Arts after a 30-year absence.
Performances of Joseph Robinette’s adaptation will be Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 at 2 p.m.
As MSA begins a year-long celebration of its 30th year, it has dug back to its first-ever performance piece, a 1988 original dance production of Charlotte’s Web that featured music by Eric Rhomberg and choreography by Judy Siegel.
While the story’s the same, this year’s show is a straight drama with added songs from the movie. And, while some of the original cast still live in the area (including Amy Lanterman who played Wilbur), most are now weaving their own lives in places from here to Oregon and in between.
One of the original cast members, however, is making a comeback.
Alexandra Mooney was a pre-schooler when she pirouetted across the stage and now returns as an adult in the role of a sheep and a reporter.
Other former cast members are being invited to a reunion at 6:30 p.m. before the Friday show to share memories and reminisce about that first production in the early days of MSA when it began in the former Odd Fellows hall as the brainchild and dream of Mary Hepburn and Karen Lanterman (who played Charlotte the first time around).
This show’s Charlotte is Allison Cooper-Ellis, bent on saving Wilbur (Ezra Holloway) from the butcher’s knife. Other cast members are Victor Brandt (Templeton), Willa Dana (Fern), Aislinn Doran (Avery), Frank Sibley (Homer Zuckerman), Marit Bjerkadal (Edith Zuckerman), Connor Simonds (Lurvy), and Falko Schilling and Heidi Lauricella (Mr. and Mrs. Arable).
Also Gail Haas, Ira Wilner, Lizzy Zavattero, Mary Margaret Jones, Christopher Leary and Iris Morehouse play various farm animals, fairgoers and spectators.
Incidental music will be provided by ukulele players Ben Carr, Elliott Carr, Steven Vannoy and Veronica Stevens.
The production team includes co-directors Annesa Hartman and Libby McCawley, as well as David Stern, set construction, Wilner, lighting, Bjerkadal, costumes, and Liz Guzynski, masks and costumes.
“E.B. White said, ‘Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder,’ a message that is needed now more than ever,” said Hartman. “This classic reminds us, through the lens of wonder, that people are fundamentally good at heart.”
Tickets for the show are $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and younger. Tickets can be purchased online at www. mainstreetarts.org until two hours before showtime.