After The Lion King, theatre-goers are used to hearing stage animals sing, usually about new love or their own self-discovery. Not in Animal Farm, Sir Peter Hall's musical adaptation of the George Orwell allegory, where the barnyard's denizens warble about the glories of socialist revolution and the horror of toltalitarian regime.
California's Will Geer Theatricum Bontanicum will revise the Richard Peaslee-Adrian Mitchell musical June 29-Sept. 29, running in repertory with The Merchant of Venice. Ellen Geer directs.
In Animal Farm, an idealist pig called Snowball leads an animal revolution against their oppressive farmer, Mr. Jones, and creates a new world where all animals are equal. Unfortunately, two other pigs, Napoleon and Squealer, decide that some animals are more equal than others. Orwell wrote the allegory as a critique of communism in the former Soviet Union.
The musical Animal Farm premiered in 1984 and played all three of Britian's National Theatres. Hall is the much-revered director who founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and ran the Royal National Theatre from 1973-1988. He has been represented on Broadway and in the West End with Amadeus, Filumenia, The Homecoming, The Merchant of Venice, An Ideal Husband and Orpheus Descending, winning two Tony Awards from his nine nominations.
Melora Marshall plays Snowball with Jim LeFave and Aaron Hendry as Napoleon and Squealer. Also in the cast are Thad Geer (Mr. Jones), Tom Allard (Boxer), Justin Doran (Benjamin), Willow Geer-Alsop (Mollie), Steven Matt (Old Major), Earnestine Phillips (Clover) and Gerlad Rivers (Moses). Tickets are $14-$22. The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is located 1419 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard. For reservations, call (310) 455-3723.
— By Christine Ehren