Peter and the Wolf

Veteran actor Lee Harwell returns to center stage after one-year break

With the weather getting damper and colder by the day, finding fun family activities isn't always easy.

Olympic Theatre Arts is offering a special treat for all ages that doesn't require braving the elements or traveling a long distance. "Peter and the Wolf," adapted by Allison Gregory from the story and music by Sergei Prokofiev, premieres Dec. 5 and continues through Dec. 14. While the group's playhouse remains under construction, the production will take place at the Sequim Masonic Hall.

"We try to present at least one family theater offering a year," said director Tracy Williams. "This play is a nice treat for the

entire family."

The story of "Peter and the Wolf" explores the age-old struggle between man and animal, the value of friends and overcoming obstacles with bravery. The cast includes Peter, his grandfather, a cat, a duck, a bird, some hunters and a wolf and takes place at Grandfather's house.

Grandfather warns Peter not to go into the meadow because even though it's tempting, it's dangerous. A wolf prowls through the meadow and forest. Peter, however, is a curious young man and goes into the meadow despite his grandfather's warning.

Williams first was intrigued by the production when

she learned that it premiered in Seattle and was voted Best Children's Show during the 2006 Seattle Times Footlight Awards. "It appeared to be a lot of fun," she said about

the script.

Nonetheless, the production is "very different than the Seattle Children's (Theatre) one," Williams warned, explaining that because the set had to be movable, the tree in the play is more like a jungle gym and the entire production has a playground theme.

"It's not the old horrible wolf story," Williams continued, careful not to give away the ending. "It will be funny and colorful and enjoyed by all ages."

Veteran actor Lee Harwell plays the wolf, his first time on OTA's stage since "The Bench" in December 2007.

"When I read the part of the wolf, I knew Lee would be perfect," Williams said. "I hope he will knock them dead."

Harwell had nothing but praise for his fellow cast members, including Sequim High School students Maggie McDougal, Anne Hanes, James Willis and Hunter Gilliam, Sequim Middle School student Olivia Hatton and Arie Vlaardingerbrook as the grandfather. "It's been a great pleasure to be involved," he said, describing the play as "like a cartoon brought to life."

"Maggie McDougal will absolutely wow you as the cat," Harwell raved.

Dozens more Sequim youths tried out for the play. "It was a good experience (having so much interest from young people)," Williams said.

"I hope we can tap into that in the future."

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