'Pinocchio' A Moving Story At Arts Live

Posted: April 21, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Disney’s “My Son Pinocchio Jr.

Arts Live executive director Mark Landon Smith says the theater group's upcoming production of Disney's "My Son Pinocchio Jr." gives audience members a different look at the classic children's story.

"This particular version is from Gepetto's point of view, as opposed to Pinocchio's," says Smith. "In the original, it's the story of Pinocchio as a little rapscallion, while this version shows us the story from Gepetto's point of view. He just really desperately wants to have children, and it's very touching to see him take that journey."


Arts Live:

‘My Son Pinocchio Jr.’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Thursday through April 29; 2 p.m. April 29-30

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 214 Main St. in Springdale

COST — $10-$15

INFO — 521-4932

Smith says actor Brady Hanstrom, who plays Gepetto, has an "innocent maturity" about him that allows him to portray the poignancy of Gepetto's journey.

"He's a really good actor and commands the stage very well," says Smith of Hanstrom, who played Michael in the theater company's production of "Mary Poppins" in November 2016. Hanstrom is part of a cast of 33 actors. Smith says a collaboration with the Arts Center of the Ozarks will allow the large cast to perform on a bigger stage than they're used to.

"They love it," says Smith. "And we absolutely want to give them that experience. There's a big difference between performing in an 80-seat house and then going to a 300-seat house. They are learning to make those adjustments in their performances, and to push themselves a little bit harder."

Smith says that the musical combines some old favorites that fans will recognize -- like"I've Got Strings" and "When You Wish Upon a Star" -- with some new compositions, written specifically for this stage version.

"It will be a new experience, even if you've seen the movie," says Smith, who adds that the 60-minute musical is appropriate for all ages.

"Pinocchio" kicks off a busy spring for the company. Auditions for "Sherlock Holmes, School of Mystery" will be held on May 7, "Little Women" will open on May 18, and the annual fundraiser, the "LOL Gala," is June 16 at the Fayetteville Town Center.

-- Lara Hightower


NAN What's Up on 04/21/2017