With lyrics by Modesto native Margaret Rose, the world première of the musical "A Little Princess" is being staged through May 19 at the Sacramento Theatre Company. Rose is a graduate of Beyer High School, Modesto Junior College and California State University, Sacramento. She also is an alumna of many years performing with Modesto Performing Arts, then called Modesto Youth Theater.
Rose and "Princess" composer Eric Rockwell worked together at STC 30 years ago, when he starred in and she assisted director Gerard A. Larson on a production of "Tintypes," which was awarded the first-ever Elly Award for best musical. Rose and Rockwell studied writing for musical theater with Maury Yeston ("Phantom" and "Titanic") and Bobby Lopez ("Book of Mormon," "Avenue Q") and created "Princess" with book writer William J. Brooke.
Based on the popular novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett (author of "The Secret Garden"), "A Little Princess" has been greeted by rousing standing ovations at every performance to date, according to STC.
Four New York-based actors are featured in the cast, including Deborah Tranelli, who was praised by The Sacramento Bee for "a dark, elegant performance" as Miss Minchin. Tranelli is remembered for her 11 seasons as Phyllis on the popular television series "Dallas." The Sacramento Bee's Marcus Crowder also champions the "terrific singing" of Josh Powell, another Northern California native who performed roles with Modesto's Townsend Opera Players and many roles in musicals on the West Coast before relocating to New York.
"A Little Princess" runs through May 19 at Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St. Showtimes are Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 12:30 and 6:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m. Tickets are $15-$38, with discounts for students, seniors and groups available. For more, visit www.sactheatre.org or call the box office at (916) 443-6722.