Madison Miller / staff photo
                                Valley Center Stage and Si View Metro Parks are partnering to debut a new musical, “The Gingerbread Man.” From left: Natalie Collins, Rebecca Zatloukal and Meha Shah.

Madison Miller / staff photo Valley Center Stage and Si View Metro Parks are partnering to debut a new musical, “The Gingerbread Man.” From left: Natalie Collins, Rebecca Zatloukal and Meha Shah.

VCS debuts new musical, “The Gingerbread Man”

VCS and Si View Parks partner for new summer musical.

A classic Mother Goose-inspired musical is coming to life at Valley Center Stage (VCS) this summer.

“The Gingerbread Man,” is an original musical written by Seattle-based playwright and composer Paul Lewis.

This will be VCS’s third Lewis production. VCS will be debuting Lewis’ “The Gingerbread Man” July 20 at Si View Park.

Narrated by a wise-cracking crow, “The Gingerbread Man” is a tale of unlikely friendships and the wonder that happens when love, kindness and the power of imagination come together. Gretchen, a young orphan with a heart of gold, hopes to bring life back to Tin Town by helping the kindly baker and his wife make a delectable, whimsical and respectable dessert in the form of a gingerbread man. With an added touch of love and imagination, the gingerbread man comes to life and must run-run-run as fast as he can to save the town and his friends.

Directed by Julie Lester, “The Gingerbread Man” will be her directorial debut. As a longtime member of VCS, Lester said she’s enjoyed being a part of VCS and is excited to move into directing.

“I’ve always been involved with musicals. I came to the very first musical at VCS,” she said. “There’s just nothing like this in the Valley.”

Lester said preparing for the recent production has been challenging, especially with a shorter timeline compared to other VCS productions, but has brought joy nonetheless.

“One of the goals is to work with the people you love and create something for the community,” she said. “It’s been so great to work with these kids that I’ve known for so long…they’re growing up right in front of me.”

Many of the children in the cast have been in several VCS productions in the past. Zoe Farnsworth, 15, and her sister Kenzie, 13, have been involved a few VCS musicals, including “Caps for Sale.”

Zoe stars as Gretchen in “The Gingerbread Man.” Kenzie stars as Tom the Tinkerer.

“It’s been really fun working with everyone again,” Zoe said.

“It’s great to work with Julie and being directed by her,” Kenzie said. “It’s great to be directed by someone we’ve already worked with.”

“She’s like the cool aunt,” Zoe said.

Sharda Shah, 9, and her older sister Meha, 13, have also starred in previous VCS productions.

Sharda stars as the Gingerbread Man and Meha stars as Heather and Young Man in “The Gingerbread Man.” Both commute from Sammamish to be a part of the VCS production.

For Sharda, this is her first role in which she’s cast as the main character. She said she’s enjoyed playing the Gingerbread Man.

“I really like being the main character,” she said. “I like meeting new people and working with Julie.”

They, too, said they have enjoyed being a part of VCS.

“I really love seeing the familiar faces and meeting new people,” Zoe said.

“The bonds you form here are amazing — you’re welcomed into a family,” Meha said.

“You get to just have fun,” Kenzie said. “You meet new friends and be a part of a dependable family.”

As part of its summer program series, VCS and Si View Metro Parks are partnering again to bring another family show for a free outdoor theater experience on July 20 at 10:30 a.m. and July 21 at 4 p.m.

“The Gingerbread Man” will continue for three more performances at VCS July 25 at 7:30 p.m., July 27 at 2 p.m. and July 28 2 p.m. Tickets are available on-line or at the door.

For more information, visit VCS website http://valleycenterstage.org/.

Madison Miller / staff photo
                                Rene Schuchter, Rich King, Kristin McLeod and Grace Combs rehearse for “The Gingerbread Man.”

Madison Miller / staff photo Rene Schuchter, Rich King, Kristin McLeod and Grace Combs rehearse for “The Gingerbread Man.”

Zoe Farnsworth stars as Gretchen in VCS’s “The Gingerbread Man.”

Zoe Farnsworth stars as Gretchen in VCS’s “The Gingerbread Man.”

Rebecca Zatloukal, Kenzie Farnsworth, Hannah Lin, Natalie Collins, Rene Schuchter and Grace Combs will perform in “The Gingerbread Man.”

Rebecca Zatloukal, Kenzie Farnsworth, Hannah Lin, Natalie Collins, Rene Schuchter and Grace Combs will perform in “The Gingerbread Man.”

Rebecca Zatloukal, Kenzie Farnsworth, Hannah Lin, Natalie Collins, Rene Schuchter and Grace Combs will perform in “The Gingerbread Man.” Madison Miller / staff photo

Rebecca Zatloukal, Kenzie Farnsworth, Hannah Lin, Natalie Collins, Rene Schuchter and Grace Combs will perform in “The Gingerbread Man.” Madison Miller / staff photo

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