Wayland presents Little Red Riding Hood

PLAINVIEW – Anyone with an elementary aged child may have already heard about Wayland Baptist University’s performance of the Little Red Riding Hood children’s opera. Led by Jeff Kensmoe, director of vocal studies, opera and musical theatre, the group has performed before more than 2,000 elementary school children in the last week.

On Monday, Nov. 20, the community of Plainview will get its chance to see the opera at 7:30 p.m. in Harral Memorial Auditorium. Admission to the performance is free and open to the public. And, of course, children are encouraged to attend.

The performance will include not only the children’s opera, but also scenes from several other operas and musicals. The children’s opera will begin at 7:30 p.m. and run until approximately 8:30 p.m. The opera will be followed by an intermission at which time parents with young children who need to get home are free to leave. Those interested may stay for the second half of the performance.

The opera is based on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale and is designed for young children.

“It is really perfect for Pre-K through fourth grade, but fifth and sixth graders have fun with it, also,” Kensmoe said. “There are a lot of little sight gags and lots of running around and chasing. And what is really wonderful about this opera is that it has all the little morals like brush your teeth, do your homework, listen to mother and never talk to strangers. It is great reinforcement for kids.”

In order to keep anything from being too scary for the youngest audience members the opera opens with the actor who plays the wolf coming out on stage. As he stumbles around nervously, talking to the children, he puts on his makeup and stage costume right in front of them.

“For little kids, it really helps,” Kensmoe said. “Nothing is too scary and it really makes it fun.”

Following the opera, the audience will be treated to several scenes from several known pieces including Into the Woods, Company, Wonderful Town and The Old Maid and the Thief.

The performance will also feature a cat duet by Jessica Lynch and Lauren Wilson. The students wrote their own libretto for the piece setting the scene in the 1980s. The music is all in cat language, but the libretto, which will be printed, will explain what is happening.