A Little Princess
Sacramento, CA 95814
This original musical—premiering at the Sacramento Theatre Company—is a big project, rivaling STC’s perennial A Christmas Carol in community actors, kids (from STC’s conservatory), period costumes, accents, etc. Set in London circa 1905, there’s a Scrooge-like headmistress of a boarding school (the icy Deborah Tranelli); a Cockney-ish beggar (David McDaniel), who seemingly wandered in from Oliver!; a maid named Mariette (like a French Mary Poppins); and a stout constable (Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly) with funny deadpan lines. But primarily, this is a father-daughter tale of riches to rags to riches again, involving perky Sara Crewe (Lauren Metzinger and Alyssa Middleton) and Captain Crewe (Jerry Lee, as living dad and paternal ghost). The plot complications—there are a few too many—include a ne’er-do-well business partner (Josh Powell) who morphs into a repentant-but-flaky hero after deserting the ill-fated Captain in the jungle while seeking diamonds; and a turbaned servant from India (Michael De Souza) spouting mystical wisdom, accompanied a musical flourishes from the hardworking pit band. The songs, largely good, recall other popular shows—composer Eric Rockwell also wrote The Musical of Musicals, and he emulates it frequently here as well. Consequently, A Little Princess doesn’t have a strong sense of cohesion—the story feints this way and that before settling down, and the character motivations (lots of noble self-sacrifice) almost evaporate. But there’s some good material here, and director Michael Laun creates multiple effective scenes, though they are sometimes more impressive individually than in sequence.