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The Blue Fairy (Marissa Dienstag) and Geppetto (Joe Assente) star in the ABC Players production of "My Son, Pinocchio," this weekend at Stuart's Opera House. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
The Blue Fairy (Marissa Dienstag) and Geppetto (Joe Assente) star in the ABC Players production of "My Son, Pinocchio," this weekend at Stuart's Opera House. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

ABC Players Promise Family Fun with “Pinocchio,” No Strings Attached


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On this edition of Conversations from Studio B, members of the ABC Players discuss this weekend’s production of Disney’s My Son, Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale, opening Oct. 15 at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.

In the show, Geppetto, a toy maker, longs for a child and imagines what it would be like to partner with a son in his toy shop business. His wish is partially granted when Pinocchio, one of his marionettes, is given the ability to move and speak even without a marionettist controlling him.

Joe Asente (Geppetto) and Allyriane Huq (Pinocchio) in "My Son, Pinocchio (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
Joe Asente (Geppetto) and Allyriane Huq (Pinocchio) in “My Son, Pinocchio (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

But life with Pinocchio is not at all like Geppetto’s dream, and the two have to share some difficult times before Geppetto comes to realize what parenting requires and before Pinocchio learns courage, honesty and unselfishness and becomes a real boy.

Pinocchio (Allyriane Huq) dances alongside other marionettes after leaving his father, Geppetto. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
Pinocchio (Allyriane Huq) dances alongside other marionettes after leaving his father, Geppetto. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

The script by David I. Stern includes the songs “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings” from the classic Disney movie, as well as a host of new music by Stephen Schwartz, who is responsible for the songs in Godspell, Pippin, Wicked, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt and Enchanted.

Children sing and dance during dress rehearsal for "My Son, Pinocchio," being staged Oct. 15-18 at Stuart's Opera House. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
Children sing and dance during dress rehearsal for “My Son, Pinocchio,” being staged Oct. 15-18 at Stuart’s Opera House. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

My Son, Pinocchio is directed by Matthew Johnson, who starred as Donkey in last season’s ABC Players production of Shrek the Musical. Choreography is by Jennifer Fritchley (Fiona in Shrek), assisted by Marissa Dienstag.

The Blue Fairy, played by Marissa Dienstag, teaches the younger fairies a lesson in the form of a song. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
The Blue Fairy, played by Marissa Dienstag, teaches the younger fairies a lesson in the form of a song. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

The role of Geppetto is played by Joe Asente, Pinocchio is played by Allyriane Huq and Marissa Dienstag is the Blue Fairy. Other key members of the cast include four “fairies in training” (Grace Chambers, Annie Haseley, Elena Johnson and Riley Maffin); Stromboli, played by Jeremy Hayes; Lee Carter as Professor Buonragazzo; and Tanner Sebastian as the Ringleader of the bad kids on Pleasure Island.

Town parents argue with their children during a scene in the wood shop. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
Town parents argue with their children during a scene in the wood shop. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

Other key members of the cast include four “fairies in training” (Grace Chambers, Annie Haseley, Elena Johnson, and Riley Maffin); Stromboli, played by Jeremy Hayes; Lee Carter as Professor Buonragazzo; and Tanner Sebastian as the Ringleader of the bad kids on Pleasure Island.

The principals are supported by a large ensemble cast playing multiple roles, including Sylvia Abbott, Richard Bagley, John Baker, Joe Balding, Orion Carter, Ethan Cooper, Brandi Kisor, Adeel Koshal, Sydney Lewis, Tatum L’Heureux, William Morosko, Mackenzie Perry, Lily Porter, Rita Preston, Jordan Profitt, Kaela Ricket, Alexa Ross, Sandy Russell and Becca Swanson.

Stromboli, played by Jeremy Hayes, askis for information about Pinocchio. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
Stromboli, played by Jeremy Hayes, askis for information about Pinocchio. (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

My Son, Pinocchio is sponsored by Hocking Valley Bank. There will be five performances: Oct. 15, 16 and 17 at 7 p.m., with matinees on Oct. 17 and 18 at 2 p.m.

Joe Asente as Geppetto (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)
Joe Asente as Geppetto (Hannah Schroeder/WOUB)

Tickets for reserved seats are available from the Stuart’s Opera House ticket office by calling 740-753-1924 or visiting stuartsoperahouse.org. Adult advance tickets are $10 and student tickets are $7. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $12, $7 for students.

Photo: Hannah Schroeder/ WOUB
Photo: Hannah Schroeder/ WOUB