Hans Christian Anderson Tales Real & Imagined is playing at The Duke On 42nd Street located at 229 West 42nd Street. The play runs for two hours with one fifteen intermission. It closes on June 1, 2019.
Hans Christian Anderson was born on April 2, 1805 in Denmark and died August 4, 1875 in Copenhagen. Hans wrote over 3,384 fairy tales. Among them are Little Mermaid, Frozen, The Red Shoes, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor New Clothes.
All thru the play Jimmy Ray Bennett who plays Hans will play other people in his life. Puppets are used throughout the play
The first act we get to know him before he becomes famous. He was from a poor family. At 11 he was awarded money from a patron to continue his schooling. The kids made fun of him and called him ugly. In some scenes he wears bird wings. Is he the ugly duckling or is he telling us how he came about writing it?
Hans was in love with three women who rejected his proposal of marriage.
We hear from his friend Edvard (Daniel Moody) who sings his words.
In the second act he is famous.
Hans is told his mother and half-sister is dead. A puppet acts out as if it’s him mother. Then the puppeteer is his mother and she tells him of her life and that of his sister.
Jimmy Ray Bennett, the puppeteers Olga Felgemacher and Craig Marvin and Daniel Moody were outstanding. So were the musicians who play different instruments.
However the play can be confusing and overwhelming as to what is going on. If you have read about Hans in the playbill before the show things make sense if not it doesn’t. The second act was so much better after the article, though one or two scenes seem strange.
The set by Vanessa James was remarkable.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.