In an entertainment world that’s richly invested with superhero origin stories, now comes a new stage version of the Robin Hood story.
That’s the new angle of David Farr’s “The Heart of Robin Hood,” which debuted in 2011 at Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and is receiving a regional premiere at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City.
When Merry Marion joins the Merry Men
Where • Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City
When • Aug. 25-Oct. 14; 7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; with 12:30 and 4 p.m. Saturday matinees
Tickets • $34 ($18 for youth K-12; no children under 5 permitted); 801-984-9000, hct.org or the theater box office
Info • hct.org
The witty story is fast-paced and cinematic with a rock ’n’ roll vibe, says director Dave Tinney in an email interview. “We are taking a much more ‘Princess Bride’ approach to the tone, rather than a Shakespearean drama.”
Tinney, along music director Rob Moffat, received permission from the playwright to infuse the production with music. The show’s original songs have a range of musical inspirations, including Gregorian chants, Old English folk music, early British Invasion rock and musical-theater scores, plus a bit of cinematic scoring.
“Sounds odd, I know,” Tinney says, “but it’s pretty cool. The script is so fluid and the language and dialogue are so beautifully musical. Adding some music really felt like a natural extension of the storytelling.”
When theatergoers first meet Robin Hood, he’s an outlaw. “This production features the story of a not-so-benevolent Robin Hood who is eventually persuaded by a powerful woman, Marion, to listen to his heart and find a way to save his people and the country from the evil Prince John,” says Sally Dietlein in a statement; Dietlein, the company’s co-founder, is producing the show.
Derek Smith will play Robin Hood, with Riley Branning as Marion and Benjamin J. Henderson as Prince John. Kacey Udy is the set designer, with fight choreography by Brad Schroeder.
“It takes him most of the show to figure out how to become the Robin Hood we all know,” Tinney says. “Marion is not a helpless maid in a tower. She is a very smart, aggressive and modern heroine. I think our Marion and Robin are young, tough, beautiful, and could step off our stage and directly into a Marvel action film.”