By Navar Watson
In 1966, Betty Lou Kyle and the recently established Apprentice Players put on “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as their first production.
So in honor of its 50th anniversary this year, the Belfry Theatre in Noblesville is producing “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as a tribute to Kyle, one of the theatre’s original founders.
Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, who also wrote “The Little Mermaid,” this musical centers around a 14-year-old emperor who’s “one screw loose,” as director Connie Murello-Todd describes. The emperor, who values his appearance and clothing above everything else, falls into a scam by two tricky swindlers.
The key message is “to not be swayed in your judgment of what you really think is right,” Murello-Todd said, who’s directed 13 shows at the Belfry.
The show features 21 actors, ages 5 to 13.
But despite the young cast, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” runs like any other theatre production. The two-hour-long musical features a full set, costumes, makeup and a professional pianist.
“It’s just like an adult Belfry production, only done with children,” Murello-Todd said. “And these children are so talented. … They make me happy every night.”
Murello-Todd said she hopes the community will bring children out to see the show. It’s not often they have a chance to see a play featuring people their own age, she said.
By the end of the night, Murello-Todd hopes audiences will realize local theatre is thriving.
“Theatre is alive and well in Noblesville,” she said, “and the Belfry is right here making it so.”
What: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Where: 10690 Greenfield Ave., Noblesville
When: July 24 though 26 and July 31 through Aug. 2 at 8 p.m.; Additional matinees include July 25 and Aug. 1 at 2 p.m.
Main Cast: Jeremiah Washington as the Emperor; Addison McMillan as the Empress; Claire Hanlon as Chester the Jester; and Nichele Washington and Gloria Merrell as Ms. Stich and Ms. Sew, respectively
Cost: $18 for adults, and $12 for children 12 and younger
Info: http://thebelfrytheatre.com/shows/the-emperors-new-clothes/ or 773-1085