Towngate Theatre in Wheeling Stages ‘Rapunzel’

Gailya Dodd (Rapunzel), Nate Foster (Prince) and Justin Swoyer (Dragon) star in Towngate Theatre’s production of “Rapunzel.”

WHEELING — Oglebay Institute continues its tradition of bringing beloved fairy tales to life with an imaginative production of “Rapunzel,” which will be staged today through Sunday, Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, and next Fridy and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, at Towngate Theatre in Wheeling.

Adapted from the Brothers Grimm tale by Sidney Berger, the production closely follows the original tale, complete with wicked enchantress, heroic prince and fair maiden. A witch takes an infant Rapunzel from her parents and locks her in a tower. As Rapunzel grows up, she has all the luxuries that money — or witchcraft — can provide; yet, she is unhappy because she is deprived of love and affection. A handsome prince tries to rescue Rapunzel, and plenty of action, suspense, mayhem and mishaps ensue.

Among the charms of this dramatization is the close relationship between the cast and the children in the audience — a key feature that Oglebay Institute director of performing arts Tim Thompson looks for when selecting plays for the children’s theater season.

“When we connect with the children they become an integral part of the performance and leave the theater feeling as though they haven’t simply been entertained-they’ve enjoyed a collective experience. That is something that can’t be duplicated by television or movies,” he said. “And, if it’s done right, they develop a love for live performance.”

Dave Henderson directs the production. Cast members include: Gailya Dodd, Halli Richards, Evan Oslund, Elizabeth Jeffers, Justin Swoyer and Nate Foster. Isaac Swoyer is the stage manager.

Rapunzel will be staged at 7 p.m. today, Friday, Jan. 31; at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb.1-2; and again at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7 and 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.

Children ages 10 and under will be admitted for a special admission price. Members of Oglebay Institute receive a discount off admission, as well.

Purchase tickets at www.oionline.com or by calling the Stifel Fine Arts Center at 304-242-7700. For those buying seats at the door, Towngate’s box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at 304-233-4257.

The show is part of Oglebay Institute’s Children’s Theatre Season, sponsored by the Helen J. Prince Foundation.

Part of the nonprofit Oglebay Institute, Towngate is located in Wheeling’s historic Centre Market District. Towngate is a cornerstone of creative life in Wheeling and serves as an entertainment destination for residents of Wheeling, the Upper Ohio Valley and beyond. People of all ages and backgrounds gather here to create and experience art onstage.

Dozens of theatrical performances, ballets, concerts, films, exhibits, classes and more take place year-round.


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