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Joshua Park as Tom Sawyer

PC: Joan Marcus

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at Chaska Valley Family Theatre

Eden Prairie man directs first Chaska Valley Family Theatre production

Unsie Zuege of the Eden Prairie News interviewed director Charter Title last week about his upcoming production of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" at The Chaska Valley Family Theatre.

Title first saw “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” performed earlier this year at the Academy of the Sacred Heart and knew it would be perfect for CVFT’s summer show. Adapted by Ken Ludwig from Mark Twain’s 1876 novel of the same name, with music and lyrics by Don Schlitz, Title thought the musical had great family appeal.

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” opened in spring 2001 at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway and, despite a relatively brief run, the musical quickly gained popularity and began making the circuit in smaller theaters and community theaters outside New York.

“It’s the cutest play,” Title said. “It’s a jewel. I was so impressed with that production, and I knew that we could do it a little larger and have a lot more dancing and action.”

Kids love the play and the characters, Title said, and to prove it, he pointed out that 30 girls showed up to audition for the role of Becky Thatcher, Tom’s love interest. “And we had at least that many wanting to be Tom Sawyer.”

Due to the enthusiasm, he expanded the main cast to 12 boys and 9 girls, and made room for a lot of younger kids.

While summer shows are famously done on a shoestring, Title is using the challenge to provide an artistic look to the show.

“We’re doing the sets stylistically, and leaving much of it to the imagination,” Title said. “Someone compared it to ‘Our Town.’ Instead of a stage manager, we have ‘Mark Twain’ introducing the show, and then later he comes back out to play the ‘Sheriff.’”

"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" opens at the Chaska Valley Family Theater in Eden Prairie, MN on July 12, 2007.

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