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ART BEAT: Performances of 'Scheherazade' end this weekend

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Beautiful music, witty dialogue, and a strong female role model made “Scheherazade” the perfect choice for the Actor’s Edge spring performances at the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth, according to Artistic Director and Founder Pat Padrick.

Audiences can enjoy this musical performed by the young theatre students for one more weekend. There will be shows today and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. The Red Clay Theatre is located at 3116 Main St. in Duluth.

The idea of performing “Scheherazade” came to the Actor’s Edge director Pat Padrick as she was searching for something different for her students to perform.

Padrick said, “I thought that other parents, like me, were getting a little weary of seeing another version of ‘High School Musical,’ although it’s a wonderful show. In my search for something else, it appears I wandered not just off the beaten path but off the map altogether.”

As Padrick began talking up the idea the show, she was met with silence and blank stares.

“Most folks not only didn’t know who ‘Scheherazade’ was, they didn’t have any idea how to say her name. We decided to take the plunge anyway and bring this fun and entertaining story to life.”

“Entertaining” is the key word for this tale. Written by Susan Pargman with music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur, “Scheherazade” is a great show to introduce younger members of the family to musical theatre. It is the story of a very brave, quick-witted and creative young maiden who plots to change the heart of an enraged king by weaving tales to transform his heart and mind. Most people have heard of the “Arabian Knights,” or of “A Thousand and One Nights,” but few remember it was the young Scheherazade who recreated their stories, telling the king a new tale each night in order to keep him from beheading her, as he had all his other wives.

In this version of the story, Scheherazade is armed only with her wit and just a smattering of magic. She weaves the classic Arabian tale assisted by zany cohorts, beautiful maidens, and two adorable waifs. Her enchanted story transforms royal counselors into powerful genies and mutates the King into his own worst enemy — a woman! By the final curtain, the king has become a victim of his own vengeful plot.

Said Padrick: “We hope lots of folks, young and old, will be introduced or re-introduced to this lovely morality tale that teaches us to value one another despite our differences. And even because of them.

“Our cast is made up of talented young people from right here in Duluth but also from as far away as Snellville and Sandy Springs. Some actors are newcomers while others are seasoned pros working with agents.”

Tickets are a “recession-friendly” price of $8 and $10 per person. They can be purchased by calling 770-573-9529 or at the door.

The Actor’s Edge began in 2008 with a summer acting camp at the Red Clay Theatre. Four years later, the number of students has tripled and The Actor’s Edge offers children a wide range of high quality performing arts programs in 12 week sessions during the school year and in summer camps. For more information about these classes and camps, visit The Actor’s Edge website at www.theActors

Edge.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com