The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Categories: 

Wander with us down to Lake-town and delve into the Lonely Mountain, at Children’s Theatre Company World Premiere Production of The Hobbit.

When we were in Minneapolis this past week, we saw a review of Children's Theatre Company's current production of The Hobbit. Well, you know us. Anything Tolkien-related is a good thing, and the extra bonus is that we absolutely LOVE the Children's Theatre Company (so much so that they are our VERY favorite Twin Cities theatre company!). CTC is the nation’s largest and most acclaimed theatre for young people, and serves a multigenerational audience. I loved the gasps and hushed remarks of little kids in the audience, which only added to the experience of this world premiere.

So we took an epic journey down to the CTC (which is at the same location as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts), and were absolutely enthralled.

This extraordinary production exceeded expectations, yet challenges audiences to reconsider your view of this classic, beloved story. Consider us SO VERY IMPRESSED.

The Cast of ‘The Hobbit’. From The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company
The Cast of ‘The Hobbit’ 

With only 5 actors, this is an extremely nimble and multifaceted cast. We wondered what it might be like. It was thrilling, to say the least. The costuming was unique and creative, which allowed the small company of actors to portray so many roles.

Reed Sigmund and H. Adam Harris in ‘The Hobbit’. From The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company
Reed Sigmund and H. Adam Harris in ‘The Hobbit’ 

We were stunned by the casting of Gandalf–the actor Joy Dolo also played Bombur, a troll, the elven queen, and a perfect Gollum (so much so, that I will only think think of her whenever we see or read the name of Gollum again). The action of Gollum's headgear was particularly clever.  

Dean Holt and Joy Dolo in ‘The Hobbit’. From The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company
Dean Holt and Joy Dolo in ‘The Hobbit’ 

H. Adam Harris, who played Kili, a troll, and Smaug, was witty and truly a highlight of this show. His humor truly stood out in the show, and added another element to the story. He has a big presence on the stage.

Becca Hart, who played Balin, a troll, and Bard, was a rennaisance woman, with a gorgeous voice and expressive acting. She did a fantastic job of showing strength through movement, especially as Bard. As Balin, she really played both sides of her character well, being both dedicated to Thorin, while taking the side of Bilbo at times. She portrayed him as an extremely fair, thoughtful dwarf.

Dean Holt wowed us as Bilbo Baggins. He completely inhabited his character, through his mobile facial expressions, athletic body, and voice. A member of CTC's acting company since 1994, his theatre experience truly shone in this role. Holt brought a level of humor to this complex character that showed both humanity and the inherent thoughtfulness of a hobbit. We wondered how the production would handle the ring, and it was both understated and genius. 

https://live.staticflickr.com/7886/47465796422_761595d937.jpg
Dean Holt in ‘The Hobbit’ 

Reed Sigmund, a 19-year member of CTC, played Thorin (and also a spider!); he was the perfect Thorin. No, he WAS Thorin. It was remarkable how Sigmund portrayed him as an understandable character, which gave us a deeper understanding of Thorin. 

The Cast of ‘The Hobbit’. From The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company
The Cast of ‘The Hobbit’

The staging was very diverse, and could be interpreted throughout the storyline as an enormous variety of places along the journey. The lighting, while not seemingly complex, truly enhanced the story. We genuinely felt as if we were taking an adventure through Middle Earth.

Dean Holt in ‘The Hobbit’. From The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company
Dean Holt in ‘The Hobbit’ 

There were two musicans (Victor Zupanc and Bill Olson) on stage, who played an original musical score by Tom Johnson. There were several songs to be sung, but the musical accompaniment augmented the story in interesting ways. In the program, there is an interesting behind the scenes look at the music in the show!

Joy Dolo, Becca Hart, Reed Sigmund, and Dean Holt in ‘The Hobbit’. From The Hobbit Onstage: A Magical World Premiere at Children’s Theatre Company
Joy Dolo, Becca Hart, Reed Sigmund, and Dean Holt in ‘The Hobbit’ 

We highly recommend heading to Minneapolis to see this wonderful, exciting world premiere. If you know any kids, bring them ALL along! It's never to early to start a lifelong love of Middle Earth. 

This production wraps up April 14, 2019 (alas!).

More information:
http://www.childrenstheatre.org/plays/2018-2019-season/the-hobbit

For adventurous 8-year-olds and up
Runs approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission

Based on the book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 
Licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises
Adapted for the stage and Directed by Greg Banks
Music by Thomas Johnson
Lyrics by Greg Banks and Thomas Johnson

 

All photos by Dan Norman, used with permission (thank you!).

 

Share