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Oklahoma Children's Theatre breathes life into Pinocchio



Most people remember Pinocchio as the lovable marionette whose dream was to become a real boy. Generations of children watched the wooden character come to life in the Disney film, and this week, the Oklahoma Children's Theatre breathes even more life into this classic tale.

The theater's production of "Pinocchio" is based on Carlo Collodi's original story, written in the late 1800s. Director and education director Rozz Grigsby said kids will be familiar with the basic story, but hopes the Italian fairy tale will entertain with twists and turns the 1940 animation failed to include.

"It's a classic production we thought the kids could relate to and would enjoy, (but) it'll be a version the kids aren't as familiar with," she said.

The company strove to assure that the "Pinocchio" production appeals to both children and their parents, Grigsby said. Kids can huddle together and sit on blankets on the floor, and everyone in the audience is encouraged to interact with the characters on stage. In fact, Grigsby said audience participation is a significant and unique part of the show.     

All the "Pinocchio" actors are trained and experienced, but Grigsby said the theater finds players that have other essential qualities.

"We like to choose people that aren't just professional actors, but are very fond of children," she said.

"Pinocchio" opens 11 a.m. today and continues through Oct. 2 at the theater, 2501 N. Blackwelder.

Tickets are $5 for students and children under the age of 12. Adults are $7. For more information, call 951-0011.

"Paige Lawler

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