CLASSIC - Cornerstone Youth Theatre presents Rockin’ Robin Hood the musical, opening June 1st at New Life Fellowship Church. photo submitted

Cornerstone Youth Theatre rocks the stage with Robin Hood musical

Talented troupe presents the story of Nottingham’s favourite outlaw

The talented troupe of Cornerstone Youth Theatre is putting the finishing touches on Rockin’ Robin Hood, opening June 1st at New Life Fellowship Church.

Additional shows run June 2nd, 8th, 9th and 10th with curtain at 7 p.m. There are also matinee performances on June 2nd, 9th and 10th at 3 p.m.

Nottingham rocks in this exciting take on the classic legend of Robin Hood – Nottingham’s favourite outlaw. As the synopsis points out, things begin when Nottingham is enjoying happier times.

A young orphan Robin and his twin sister Hazel arrive with big hopes to open an archery shop, but run into trouble.

King Richard has recently left for the crusades, so the rotten Sheriff of Nottingham and his land-owning fiance Lady Blackwood grab the opportunity to tax the town big time.

Robin quickly makes an enemy of the sheriff and eventually winds up as an outlaw.

By the time he escapes to Sherwood Forest, he’s met all his legendary friends – Friar Tuck, Little John, Marian, and he’s brought the trusty team together to help return what is stolen from the poor and to ultimately take down the evil sheriff.

Packed with action, chase scenes, prison breaks with a terrific score by Rockwell and Bogart, the show melds medieval themes with contemporary tunes and tempos.

“When we started looking for versions of Robin Hood to do, we were aware that we wanted something of course entertaining for the audience but also fun for the performers to do as well,” explained Stephanie Orr, Cornerstone’s artistic director. “What we really liked about this one is that all of the elements of the story are there – the Sheriff of Nottingham, King Richard – but all of the music is anachronistic!

“When we looked at that, we thought that would be fun, not only for the performance but also for the audience.”

Musical genres run the gamut from rock to gospel to 1980’s rock and love ballads, she added, which allowed co-directors Ashley Miller and Laura DeGraff to get super creative in crafting a really fun show.

“It’s got all of those medieval elements and medieval costumes, but then you’ll have three guys spin around with bright, sequined outfits as they are dancing to a gospel hit. We always like fun things like that – it always makes our day,” she added with a laugh.

Rounding out the creative team are Stephanie Layden as musical director and choreographer Constance Johnson.

The show also features 65 youth with lots of Cornerstone’s high school seniors returning for their last kick at the can, said Orr. There are also 32 students on the crew as well.

“What’s been really good for our program with Robin Hood is that this show has 39 main characters. So that’s really good for us because it doubles the number of students that we are leading into acting, projecting and using their voices.

“It’s a huge learning opportunity for them, because whereas they might normally be in the dance chorus, they might also have some lines to memorize and a bunch of blocking as well.

“It sort of ‘ups the game’ for all of them too – so it’s been a different approach. In a show like Wizard of Oz, there was tons of dance rehearsals because the majority of the students involved were dancing.

“In this show, clearly half of the kids are delivering lines and progressing the story and having to be on their mark. So we’ve done a lot more dramatic work in this one.

“The music is also contemporary enough that the kids catch on to the feel of it pretty easily,” she said. “We try and schedule our seasons so that of the three shows we do, one is a real vocal challenge, one is a dramatic challenge and one is dance challenge. This one is definitely our dramatic challenge.”

Orr said the troupe presented a version of Robin Hood several years ago which was a more serious take on the tale. This time around, there is much more comedy woven into the script.

“I’m sure it will be a big hit because the music is also really good and the opportunities for kids are pretty outstanding!”

For tickets, go to www.CornerstoneYouthTheatre.org or call the box office at 403-986-2981.

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