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'Riding Hood' a Sunny Story With Silly Wolf

November 05, 1998|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"It's not a very happy ending, but it's better than what usually happens."

That's the not-so-big-bad wolf's summing up of his fate in Storybook Theatre's reprise of its sunny version of "Little Red Riding Hood" at Theatre West.

The wolf (Jack Kutcher) makes off with his hide intact in this giggle of a musical by Lloyd J. Schwartz, where Granny (Jacque Lynn Colton) plays the "pianee" and the Storyteller/Mother (Barbara Mallory Schwartz) has a heck of a time remembering the name of the title character.

"Little Pink Riding Hood," "Green Riding Hood," "Purple Riding Hood"--every well-timed slip elicits helpful and loud correction from the audience.

The show opens with Kutcher, in overalls and wolf ears, assuring the audience that he's a "silly wolf" not a scary one. And Kutcher has a great time proving just how silly a wolf can be.

Colton, in pink hair net and pink tennis shoes, isn't your traditional fairy tale granny either, as she plunks the ivories (the real music is taped) while hungrily awaiting the arrival of Little Red (Anne Leyden) and her basket of "morsels."

With his polished comic timing, Kutcher's humor works for all ages. He's neatly matched, however, by David Brandt as a very manly Woodcutter, singing the show's highlight song, "Call on a Hero," with just the right touch of innocent braggadocio.

Then, the audience helps decide the Wolf's fate: "Eat him," "Send him away."

* "Little Red Riding Hood," Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Los Angeles, Saturdays, 1 p.m., except dark Nov. 28. Ends Feb. 28. $8. (818) 761-2203.

Their Night to Shine: The third annual "Professional Artists in Schools Awards" will honor five artists for their many years of fostering creativity and expanding children's horizons.

Recipients are mime artist Judi Garratt; dancer Alice Lo; Lola Montes, founder and artistic director of Lola Montes and Her Spanish Dancers; musician-director Ira Schulman; and classical violinist and composer Elisabeth Waldo.

The awards are presented by storyteller-musician Paul Tracey and dancer Susan Cambigue-Tracey, in cooperation with the Music Center's Education Division, Performing Tree, L.A. Unified School District and many other arts-in-education organizations.

* Professional Artists in Schools Awards, Empress Pavilion Restaurant, Bamboo Plaza, 988 N. Hill St., Chinatown, Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m., $30. Advance reservations required. (310) 454-4575.

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