Kailey Thomsen's biggest dream since she was a little girl was to become a princess.
Her dream came true when the Academy of Children's Theatre cast her in the lead role of its holiday play, Rapunzel, which opens Dec. 7 in Richland.
"When I read the cast list and saw my name next to the character Rapunzel, I saw my wish become a reality," 15-year-old Kailey said. "My goal is to bring a sense of Disneyland (to the show) for all the little boys and girls who come and see the show."
If you've lost touch with your childhood, here's a refresher about Rapunzel, which follows truer to the Grimm Brothers original tale than Disney's Tangled, said the play's director Janice McIntyre.
"It has been a lot of fun taking a script of the basic story of Rapunzel from cobbler and his wife to amazingly long hair and a tower, with music no one will find familiar but won't forget after the show is over," McIntyre said. "It's not Disney's Tangled, but we went with similar colors and costumes for the witch and Rapunzel to help children connect with the characters."
She adds that the ACT production also has a twist that the audience will find charming.
The Grimm Brothers fairytale centers around a couple who live next to a walled garden owned by an enchantress. The pregnant wife craves a taste of the rapunzel plant in the garden, so her husband sneaks in at night to steal some. But he's caught by the enchantress and begs for mercy because he fears the witch's wrath. So, the evil woman makes him promise to give her the couple's unborn child once she's born and he agrees.
When the little girl reaches age 12, the witch locks her in a tower with no stairs or a door. There is only one room with one window at the top. But Rapunzel has grown long, lush blond hair, so when the witch comes to the tower to check on Rapunzel, she calls out, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair, so that I can climb the golden stair."
As Rapunzel grows into womanhood, she breaks up the monotony of her loneliness by singing, which catches the ear of a handsome prince.
"When I became Rapunzel, for the first time I noticed how difficult this role really is," Kailey said. "Not only do you have to try and play the part as realistically as possible, but you also have to remember how whimsical princesses really are."
The prince is played by Nathan Grant with Diana Milton as the witch and Zachary Chandler as the valet. The play also has three storytellers, played by Monica Winn, Katelin Grant and Jade Leliefeld.
The play runs Dec. 7-8, 14-15 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 and 15 at 2 p.m. at the ACT studio, 213 Wellsian Way in Richland. Admission is $13 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Kids 5 and younger are $7. Tickets are available at the ACT studio or at www.academyofchildrenstheatre.org.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org