This gorgeous Stephen Schwartz musical was first produced as Mit Eventyr by Flemming Enevold for Denmark’s 2005 bi-centennial celebration of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth. From the darkened stage of the Royal Danish National Theater in 1846, Andersen is launched into the timeless landscape of his own imagination. What he discovers there not only changes his life, but the world, and proves the genesis for immortal storytelling. His life’s fairytale is a quest through which he learns to relinquish possibilities to achieve dreams, and makes his greatest discovery – himself. A delightful revel in the “children’s stories” from Andersen’s imagination, My Fairytale is an enlightening journey into the soul of the artist and a heartfelt celebration of the Danish spirit.
About the subject –
Hans Christen Andersen, one of the great writers of modern Europe, was influenced by two towns and his experiences in them: his birthplace of Odense, and Copenhagen where he lived and worked as an adult. In his autobiography (published for the first time in 1926), Andersen stressed how Odense taught him the “old ways,” the traditions and superstitions that were forgotten in the bustle and energy of the modern Copenhagen. He was also mindful of how social position and poverty affected what was possible in life. Born to a cobbler and a washerwoman on April 2, 1805, he remained a social outsider despite his eventual fame and success. Possessed of a lovely “youthful voice,” he left the poverty of his Odense childhood at age 14 for Copenhagen. A colleague suggested that he might have the soul of a poet and that he would find greater success as a writer. Through a chance meeting with director Jonas Collin, he found himself on scholarship to a grammar school in Slagelse and university at Elsinore paid for, in part, by King Frederick VI.
While his early short stories and poems showed promise, his novels O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler (1837) did much better than his first installment of fairy tales. His nationalism and rising passion for things Scandinavian blossomed following a trip to Sweden in 1837, and by 1841 his travelogues of European adventures were in high demand. He made 29 trips abroad during his lifetime and lived for almost 9 years outside Denmark. In the 1840s his interest returned to things theatrical, where he enjoyed success with adaptations and translations. And with the advent of his Picture-Book without Pictures, he returned to those early fairy stories and found an adoring audience. With each succeeding collection, his fame grew and led to meetings with the rich and famous including English novelist Charles Dickens and princes foreign and domestic.
While in his artistic oeuvre he most often argues for increased humanity and enlightenment for all, he also believed that “nature is the great measure of value.” Unfortunately, his personal life never provided the fulfillment of his imaginative works. While he adored many beautiful and talented women, including the opera soprano, Jenny Lind, he was not to find a partner in life. In spring of 1872, Andersen fell getting out of bed and never fully recovered. He lived until Aug.4, 1875, passing away at the home of his close friend, the banker Melchior. He is interred in the Assistens Kirkegard in Copenhagen.
Among his great stories are “Thumbelina,” “The Snow Queen”, “The Little Match Girl,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” His birthday is celebrated internationally as Children’s Book Day and in Copenhagen harbor sits a stature of his little mermaid. Commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, a son of the founder of Carlsberg, and executed by sculptor Edvard Eriksen, the statue was a present from the brewer to the city of Copenhagen. The Little Mermaid remains one of the most iconic public statues in the world.
About the team –
Flemming Enevold, Original Idea and Concept –
For the Danish celebrations of the bi-centennial of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth, Flemming Enevold conceived, produced and mounted Mit Eventyr (My Fairytale). The leading musical actor/singer in Denmark, Enevold was born in 1952 and received his education at the National Theatre School in 1975 and at the Royal Academy of Music from 1975-77. He has appeared at the Royal Theatre in classical theatre productions from 1977-80 and again in 1987-89. He has appeared in various genres of work including Pirates of Penzance, Esther, The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables and also co-authored, produced, directed and acted in some of the most popular of Danish musicals. Mr. Enevold was director of the Rialto Theatre from 1989-91 and the Gladsaxe Theater from 1992-2006. Among his numerous film credits are the recent crime drama series Forbrydelsen (Series II) and Flame and Citron (2008).
Stephen Schwartz, Music and Lyrics –
This award-winning composer of Godspell, Pippin and Wicked studied piano and composition at Julliard, graduated with BFA a in Drama from Carnegie Mellon and after a short period as a record producer, began an active life in Broadway Theatre. His first major credit was the title song from Butterflies are Free (both for stage and film). His career blossomed in the 1970s with Godspell, Bernstein’s MASS and Pippin and has continued both on stage and screen ever since. In 2008, Mr. Schwartz’s musical Wicked reached its 1900th performance on Broadway making him the only songwriter in Broadway history ever to have three shows run more than 1900 performances. Since then, Wicked has surpassed 2700 performances and continues to play on Broadway as well as in regional and international venues. For film, Schwartz has collaborated with composer Alan Menken to earned Oscars and Grammys for their work on the Disney features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Schwartz also provided songs for DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt. His recent projects include a Disney collaboration with Menken, Enchanted, and his first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon (premiered with Opera Santa Barbara and produced by New York City Opera in 2011).
Philip LaZebnik, Book –
In addition to creating the book for My Fairytale, LaZebnik has written screenplays for the Disney animated feature Pocahontas and Mulan, DreamWorks’ Prince of Egypt and The Legend of El Dorado and contributed to scripts for Antz, Shrek, and numerous other features. Born in Ann Arbor in 1953, he received a BA in Classics from Harvard College in 1976 and went on to write for US TV series including Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now a resident of Denmark, he is currently active in European film production as a writer and consultant for Nordic Films, Radar Films, Zentropa, Angel Films and others. LaZebnik has served on the Board of Directors of the Writers Guilds of America West, The Writers Branch Executive of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and juries for numerous awards and film festivals throughout the US and internationally.
Michael Jackowitz, Executive Producer –
A physician with The Farber Center, NYC’s first freestanding radiation oncology practice, Michael Jackowitz has spent much of his life active in national theatre production. He is a co-partner with Marvin Kahan in M&M Productions, Director of New Work for the Rubicon Theatre, the Executive Producer for the new opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon by Stephen Schwartz, the musical Daddy Long Legs by John Caird and Paul Gordon and the 50th Anniversary revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway 2011. In regional theatre, Jackowitz has been continuously active with Rubicon Theatre in Ventura where he has developed numerous musical projects. Having begun his career at The Directors Company(TDC) in NYC in 1992, he has gone on to produce Nicky Silver’s Food Chain at Westside Theatre, AVOW at the Century Theatre, I Do, I Do at Queens Theatre in the Park and various projects through TDC and as the liaison to the Harold Prince Musical Theater Program. He has also produced at the Lyric Stage in Dallas TX.
About the production –
We are thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with noted Danish director/producer Flemming Enevold and award-winning American composer Stephen Schwartz to bring the American premiere of My Fairytale, a musical about Hans Christian Andersen, to our audiences in both Santa Maria and the Danish-American community of Solvang, CA in the summer of 2011. Artistic Director Mark Booher has been seeking a Danish-themed play for our 2010-11 season for some time, as 2011 marks the centennial of the city of Solvang’s establishment as a Danish-American community. The celebration is significant in the life of our company because PCPA Theaterfest has been producing plays in both Santa Maria and Solvang, CA for 36 of the company’s 46 seasons (since 1974).
This production creates a unique opportunity to connect to the international cultural history of the Solvang community and intersect with current artistic work that has its origins in European literary and theatrical traditions. My Fairytale goes well beyond being a nostalgic cavalcade of Andersen’s “children’s stories” – it also explores his life and work in the context of its historical roots, investigates the internal struggles and external hardships he encountered, and celebrates the role of the artist and the legacy of art in the creation of culture. My Fairytale was first produced by Flemming Enevold as Mit Eventyr in 2005 as part of Denmark’s bi-centennial celebration of Andersen’s birth. Andersen, by setting aside his aspiration to be a “serious” writer for the “legitimate” stage, which had been his childhood dream, opened the door to bring his wonderful imagination to generations of children and adults in Denmark and the world, in ways far beyond what he might have hoped. This indeed is why he himself came to regard his life’s story, fraught as it was with insecurities and hardships, as something of a “fairytale.”
Our American identity is truly a tapestry woven of a great diversity of cultural perspective and heritage. The theater we make in service to our communities should be reflective of our historical cultural richness, and formative to the life and future of our community. In our 2009-10 season, we produced a world-premiere commission Invierno, an 1830’s rancho-California adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, by José Cruz González that investigated and celebrated the diverse history of our Central Coast community – particularly from the perspective of the Mexican and Chumash Indian. Mark Booher’s hope, in quite a different way with My Fairytale, is to continue this practice of producing theatre, at least in some portion of our season that speaks directly to our community’s authentic identity. My Fairytale presents us with a tremendous vehicle to serve our community as we advance our students, cultivate international collaboration and celebrate a portion of our cultural heritage.
|Marian Theatre Performance Times|
||1:30 & 7pm|
|All Solvang performances are 8 p.m.|
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