In its production of “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” this weekend at the Academy Theatre in Meadville, the Oil Region Ballet will transform the familiar fairy tale into a lively western romp. Cattle and card sharps and town folks and cow pokes are among a cast of colorful characters that will bring the story to life through the language of dance.
Little Red is the youngest of three sisters who operate a ranch in the Wild West and are beset by the Big Bad Wolf Gang. Wolfgang Dude and his band of outlaws rustle their cattle and kidnap their granny and hold her for ransom. But the Big Bad Wolf Gang proves to be no match for Red and her sisters, Pretty Patsy and Green-Eyed Kate, and the friends who come to their aid — including the sharp-shootin’, trick-ridin’ cowgirl trio of Buffalo Baylee, Doc Halle and Wild Belle Hiccup; and Billy Blazin’ and his magic six-shooters.
ORB productions include a rich history of creatures brought to life, and “Lil’ Red” is no exception. Red’s horse, Hoss, a dancing, talking, boot-wearing equine will take to the stage, along with cavorting cacti and toe-tapping tumbleweeds.
The cast includes principal dancers Justus Lind as Little Red and Brian Murphy as Billy Blazin’. Soloists include Hector Santos as Wolfgang Dude, Maya Alizzeo as Granny, Carleigh Murphy as Pretty Patsy and Grace Morrell as Green-Eyed Kate. Demi-soloists include Baylee Cutchall as Buffalo Baylee, Halle Plowman as Doc Halle, Sydney Perich as Wild Belle Hiccup, and, as the Big Bad Wolf Gang, Sylvia Cagle, Noelle Raszman and Marissa Powell.
Character roles include Kylie Moore as the wolf and Kyran Miller and Skylar Shields as Hoss the Horse. The Corps de Ballet members, who dance various parts from Indian maidens to saloon girls, townspeople to longhorn steers, are Roselynne Ferraro, Makenna Reavis, Danielle Guth, Lissa Murphy, Molly Carswell, Elizabeth Hyatt, Hunter Riordan, Gavin Potter, Nasir Banks and Elijah Stewart. They will be joined by apprentices Londyn Fink, Audrey Frazier and Marley Plowman. Three young guest dancers, Kennedy Dawson, Josie French and Madolyn Williams, will dance the roles of tumbleweeds and cacti.
Deborah Femovich is ORB’s executive and artistic director, and she shares choreographic efforts with assistant artistic director Taryn Frey.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10, $12 and $14. They may be purchased online at theacademytheatre.org or at the Academy Theatre box office, 275 Chestnut St.
• More information: Call 337-8000.