This lovely adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale combines folk rock and story theater--genres that dominated the Old Town/Lincoln Avenue entertainment scene in the late 60s and early 70s. Singer-songwriter Michael Smith (who penned the score for director Frank Galati's The Grapes of Wrath) composed this dramatic cantata, which recounts a girl's quest to rescue a boy bewitched by the icy ruler of the frigid north--a metaphor for devotion melting a frozen heart. Galati's staging employs Blair Thomas's whimsical puppets and backdrop illustrations, which give Smith's song cycle theatrical shape yet retain a wonderfully handmade, improvisatory quality. The alternately delicate and pulsing score conveys Andersen's wry humor and melancholy through haunting vocals by Smith, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, the stunning Barbara Barrow, and Kat Eggleston, who stops the show with a droll "Love Song on a Fish" that rhymes "virgin" and "sturgeon." a Through 1/7: Tue-Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, $35-$45.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Liz Lauren.