Local families will be getting ready for a ‘berry, berry good time’ with the most spirited red-haired girl around – Strawberry Shortcake.
The iconic sweetheart makes her theatrical debut at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre on May 31 in Koba Entertainment’s ‘Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat!’
Performance times are 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.
“Strawberry Shortcake has been a part of children’s lives for decades,” says Koba’s Artistic Director Patti Caplette. “This show is the first time families will be able to see the world’s most famous little girl live on stage.”
Audiences will follow along as Strawberry Shortcake and her best friends Orange Blossom, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding and Cherry Jam prove that little girls can do ‘berry’ big things, said Caplette.
She added that crafting a vision for the production meant spending hours immersing herself in the world of Strawberry Shortcake via TV shows and video. “It meant getting involved with the personalities and the look and the story lines that I want to meld together.”
From there, writing the story began. “Those kinds of things inform what we want to see onstage.”
Strawberry Shortcake and the girls won’t be the only ones stepping into the limelight in the show – this adventure will introduce the happy-go-lucky Huckleberry Pie live on stage for the very first time, said Caplette.
Adventure will also abound as audiences enter the whimsical land of Berry Bitty City where the whole town is buzzing with anticipation for the Glitzy Glaze Talent Show. “We knew that we wanted a band, so it’s all about music and about them being able to turn whatever thoughts and feelings they are having into a song. That was really fun to do, and a great challenge for me.”
There are about 15 songs incorporated into the show.
Audiences will also be able to sing and dance with Strawberry Shortcake and friends as they each prepare for their moment in the spotlight, but not without some misguided mishaps along the way. “The message is ultimately fantastic – it’s about empowering young people to be able to speak up, to be able to be heard. It’s definitely about empowerment and never letting go – have your dreams and follow them. It’s also a wonderful experience for families.”
The Strawberry Shortcake show features new songs co-written by Lorelei Bachman and her father Randy Bachman (The Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive) plus original and fan favourite songs from the hit television program.
Scenic design and productions are created by F & D Scene Changes Ltd., whose resume includes past Broadway shows such as Wicked, Mary Poppins and Les Miserables.
The theatrical production is based on the hit CGI-animated preschool television program Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures.
“The thing I love about Strawberry is that she has evolved – what she looked like 20 years ago is not what she looks like today.”
Koba Entertainment has been captivating audiences throughout the world with celebrated characters from literature, television and pop culture since 2004. The company has entertained people of all ages in more than 165 North American cities, 12 countries and 4 continents. Follow Your Berry Own Beat! is also among the company’s roster of theatrical productions including The Backyardigans Quest for the Extra Ordinary Aliens, Toopy and Binoo and the Marshmallow Moon, and Franklin the Turtle!
As for Caplette, she first discovered her love of performing arts at her mother’s dance studio in Vancouver where by age five she was showing an early knack for choreography and playwriting.
“I come by it totally honestly – our whole house was filled with costumes and ideas and music. My mother was the inspiration for me to follow in those footsteps — I thought everybody’s mother was a dancer.”
She had tried a regular day job in an office, but in just three months she knew dancing would be her life’s work. Between 1973 and 1992 she performed in more than 400 cities in 19 countries including United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, Egypt and Mexico and starred in numerous productions by international choreographers.
For Caplette, sharing her skills and direction with performers is a joy.
“It keeps challenging me to push boundaries, and it keeps me young. And because these shows are targeted for a family audience, there is always humour involved.”
Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre, online at Blackknightinn.ca or by phone at 1-800-661-8793.