A new twist on an old favorite

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – The general public will get a chance to see the show that has delighting St. John the Baptist Parish students all week, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society’s “Petit Rouge.”

The musical, a Cajun retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” will have three performances this weekend at St. John Theatre in Reserve. Today’s shows will be at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., while tomorrow there will only be the afternoon matinee at 2 p.m.

Although the show is clearly aimed at the younger set — and clocking in at a mere 75 minutes, short attention spans as well — adults will enjoy the many familiar references throughout the production and will likely catch on to the Cajun-influenced dialect a little more easily than younger audience members.

The story follows young duckling Petit Rouge and her friend, TeJean the cat, as they travel to Thibodaux to visit Petit Rouge’s ailing grandmother. Along the way, they encounter Claude, an alligator set on making the pair his next meal.

Children will enjoy not only the catchy songs and humor sprinkled throughout the production but will also be transfixed by the colorful and fluid sets.

The students who attended this week’s performances laughed out loud several times during the show.

The students got to see “Petit Rouge” this week as a part of JPAS’ Theater for Young Audiences initiative. The organization developed a curriculum to go along with the show, and prior to attending the performances students were familiarized with the story.

According to St. John Theatre Managing Director Denise Borell, she met with St. John Superintendent Courtney Millet to discuss bringing the show to the parish.

“They jumped on board and incorporated it into their curriculum,” she said. “It’s all about giving back to these schools and these kids.”

Borell said she hopes this is the start of a lasting and fruitful relationship with JPAS and added she hopes to one day bring a production to Jefferson Parish.

This production of “Petit Rouge” has already been shown to students in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes, and it will be traveling to Meridian, Miss., and New York, as well.

Tickets for “Petit Rouge” are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit www.stjohntheatre.org.