African Cinderella tale comes to Sheldon
Qualities that are at the heart of any Cinderella tale — kindness and consideration of others — play an important role in "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: an African Tale," which will be staged March 31 at the Sheldon Theatre.
The Dallas Children's Theatre national touring production will be performed during the afternoon as a school event. The public is invited to see the Zimbabwe-based tale at 7 p.m.
The play is based on John Steptoe's book, which won the 1988 Caldecott Award. It was adapted for the stage by Karen Abbott, with music and lyrics by S-Ankh Rasa. Choreography is by Michelle Gibson.
"Traditional dancing, rhythmic drumming and glorious African song" are integral to the telling of the tale, according to the Sheldon.
An African villager named Mufaro has two daughters whom everyone agrees are beautiful. But they have very different dispositions.
"When a great African king desires a wife, only the most perfect maidens in the land are invited to meet him," according to Dallas Children's Theatre.
Manyara has a bad temper and is self-centered; Nyasha is kind and considerate to people and to animals.
"The daughters travel a half-day's journey through a mystical jungle and across a deep river to be presented to the king," theater spokesmen said. "Along the way the two girls encounter a number of mysterious situations that test their courage, kindness and strength of spirit."
The splendor of Zimbabwe and the energy of the African land are presented through authentic African percussion, powerful and majestic choreography and thrilling original music, officials said.
Robyn Flatt, who co-founded the children's theater company in 1984 and is its executive artistic director, is directing "Mufaro." Dallas Children's Theatre is endorsed and supported by organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts.
"We believe theater provides a unique learning opportunity, which allows children exposure to ideas and imagery that reflect their own experiences and challenge their own understanding of the world in which they live," spokesmen said.
"Our productions promote social values, moral integrity, and reflect the cultural diversity of our community through casting and themes," they added. Study guides and other educational materials are made available on the website: https://www.dct.org/educators/studyguides.
The play will be most enjoyed by children in first through fifth grades and by adults, Sheldon spokesmen suggested.
Tickets are $10 to $21. However, because the show is a Kids Play Free event, admission is free to a children age 12 or younger with the purchase of a regular priced adult admission.
For tickets or reservations, visit the box office, call 651-388-8700 or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org.
If you go ...
Who: Dallas Children's Theatre
What: "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters"
When: 7 p.m. March 31
Where: Sheldon Theatre
How much: $10-$21; Kids Play Free
More info: 651-388-8700 or www.sheldontheatre.org