Wilton High School presents a story of crime and fairy tales

Bryan Haeffele photos

A clever combination of crime and fairy tales hits the Wilton High School Little Theater stage next week when the senior class presents Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit.

A fairy tale criminal justice system will be the focus of this year’s Wilton High School Senior Show, with the characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes being represented by two separate yet equally ridiculous groups — “the fairy tale police who investigate fairy tale crime, and the fairy tale district attorneys who prosecute the fairy tale offenders.”

“What I like most about the play is that it’s cleverly written. It’s based on the television crime drama Law & Order, but the detectives and all of the people in the play are actual fairy tale characters — but they’re not obvious, literal fairy tale characters,” said Mary Jo Duffy, of Wiremill Academy, who directs the Senior Show each year.

“For example, the head detectives are H.D., also known as Humpty Dumpty; and Cindy, also known as Cinderella.”

Ms. Duffy said the characters are dressed as normal people, revealing “just a hint” of their fairy tale identities.

“For example, Cindy has lost her shoe and H.D. says to her, ‘Oh, well it looks like you had a rough night. What happened to your shoe?’ and she says, ‘Oh, I lost it at a Prince concert,’” she said.

“It’s very funny and the fairy tale characters are represented in quirky ways and it’s all under this Law & Order setting, where they’re trying to solve the crime of: Who burned down the houses of The Three Little Pigs?”

After reading many scripts, Ms. Duffy said, she chose Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit for this year’s show because she thought the senior class would enjoy its “light and funny” nature.

“I also wanted something that had a lot of parts because there are almost 100 kids in the show — most of the kids who wanted a speaking role got one.”

Ms. Duffy said the great thing about the Senior Show is that “no one gets turned away and everyone in the senior class is welcome.”

The more than 80 students participating in this year’s show include some “theater veterans,” as well as “kids who have never stepped on stage,” said Ms. Duffy.

“The purpose of the Senior Show is to create a bonding experience for the senior class — for them to have fun, be silly and try things they’ve never tried before,” said Ms. Duffy. “It’s really fun for the kids because it’s like a romp — they have a big, fun time.”

Ms. Duffy, who has been working on the production for “months and months,” said the students have been rehearsing four days a week since the week before winter break.

“It’s a lot to put together in about five weeks,” she said. “I would say the biggest challenge has been getting everybody in the same place at the same time to rehearse because they have all sorts of other events like band and choral concerts and sporting events.”

Musically directed by Chris Coogan, the show will include a range of musical genres — from Disney songs to Broadway show tunes and even recent hits like Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

The show premieres Thursday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m., with additional shows on Friday, Jan 30, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.

“The acting is really fun and I think the audience will enjoy the storyline,” said Ms. Duffy. “I think they’ll enjoy the cleverness of the dialogue and trying to figure out who the fairy tale characters are.”

Ms. Duffy said not only does she hope students who have never done theater before gain a “new sense of respect for theater and what goes into it,” but she also hopes the seniors enjoy themselves and are left with unforgettable memories.

“I hope everyone has a really good time and has memories that they can look back at and say, ‘Wow, that was really fun — we did this. We were laughing on stage and dancing and being silly and making fools of ourselves, in a good way,’” said Ms. Duffy.

“I had the best time working with these kids this year. They come, they show up and they’ve been really passionate — even kids who have never done theater have stepped up and really thrown themselves into it. It’s just been a joy for me.”

Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults. To reserve tickets, call 203-834-4844 or email whstix@wilton.k12.ct.us.