Last summer, the beloved Hutton’s Hamlet had to keep the doors closed for their regular performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they’ve returned to the stage with a vengeance this summer and just wrapped up the play Doo-Wop Wed Widing Hood. Shows were staged July 9 and 10, performers and audiences braving the triple digit heat for the love of the theater.
“It’s the ‘50s meets fairytale,” Kierstyn Springer, a longtime Hutton’s Hamlet actress, described.
The play followed the tale of three young princes trying to fight for the hand of ‘Little Wed Widing Hood’. Full of poodle skirts, ‘50s slang, and classic dance moves, the show brings a unique take to classic fairytale storytelling.
Annette Hutton was excited to do this performance because she’d had good experiences with it back in 2009. Moreover, it was time to add something new to the production. While Hutton is well-versed in casting, directing, mending, singing, and the like, she had a qualified familiar face bring a new element to this show.
“I liked it and also my granddaughter wanted to do this one,” Hutton explained. “She came back here after she graduated ... she’s been a great help.”
Emily Frantz, a recent graduate of UC Irvine majoring in Musical Theater, did plenty of choreography during her education. This play was a chance for her to bring that to a local stage. Hutton also noted that the previous play was one Frantz directed herself, which was a big moment for Hutton to let go as she’d been directing these summer productions for over two decades.
Along with Frantz, Grace Buzzini has been helping backstage as well. With Frantz’s musical theater experience, Buzzini’s education at AMDA studying Performing Arts, and veterans of the Hutton’s Hamlet summer production experience, the pair have been a tremendous help to Hutton and have great banter and relationships with the cast.
As for Doo-Wop Wed Widing Hood, Springer played the fairy godmother. Her role onstage seems fitting for the current dynamics between Springer and her castmates, as now she’s one of the older students in the production and helping out the younger cast members.
Springer started at Hutton’s Hamlet in the summer of 2014. She will be a high school senior in the fall and said she’s seen a lot of growth from her 10-year-old self to now.
“Now I’m the ‘big kid’ everyone looks up to,” Springer said. “I want to set an environment so these kids want to keep coming back, too ... this is the one thing I look forward to every summer and I want them to feel that way.”
However, the prominence of roles in these plays doesn’t seem to matter. Whether a main character or “on the sidelines,” Springer has cherished the relationships she’s built, whether that’s making deep friendships or taking on more of a mentoring role for the younger actors.
The next play will be Law and Order: C-rhyme and Pun-ishment. Hutton admitted “it’s pretty silly” and will be a whimsical tale full of witticism and wordplay. Performance dates are currently set for Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24.
Whether interested in watching performances or participating in them, keep an eye out for next summer’s line-up around late January 2022. You can also check out www.huttonshamlet.org or call (209) 848-1216 with any questions about their plays, musical instruction, or workshops.