marshallARTS Family Series Family Series Presents: The Enchanted Nightingale

The Garry Marshall Theatre, marshallARTS Family Series Presents: “The Enchanted Nightingale”  through  March 18

Loosely based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this lovely play, written by Lori Marshall and Joseph Leo Bwarie, pays homage to the original but somehow manages to spin a new, fresh and surprisingly modern “golden” tale. 

The play takes place in ancient China at the court of the young Emperor Li who, since his parents’ untimely death, has collected rare and beautiful objects, gifts brought to him from the far corners of the earth, which he keeps locked away from the world in a large golden cage.

Because of his reclusive and somewhat spoiled existence, he relies on his court to keep him up to date with the world and also entertained.  His General Mi, Mrs Wu, the gardener and Chef Zu do their best to keep him out of trouble but a day arrives when they just can’t seem to keep him happy.  They regale him with the story of an enchanted nightingale in a far away land and, once the Emperor hears the tale, he becomes  ‘enchanted’ by the idea of it and demands to have it for his collection.  He sends a reluctant General Mi on a quest to find it and the story unfolds.

This play is a delightful version of this classic story.  Full of fun and beautiful dance and music, it’s also sweet and moving, and ultimately about love, forgiveness and redemption.  All excellent lessons for the little ones, and also their parents!

I must admit to brushing away a few tears myself…and I’m not ashamed!

“The Enchanted Nightingale” is wonderfully presented, the actors are funny, talented and the characters thoughtfully drawn and warmly wrought.  All the actors are brilliant, absolutely charming in fact.  The stage is perfection and the entire production exquisite.  There were plenty of kids in the audience when I was there and they all seemed totally transfixed.   There’s just enough interaction for them to feel a part of the play, but not too much to slow down the action.

It’s very sensitive to the Chinese culture, through the casting as well as the set, music and themes.  It’s really a wonderful way to bring kids into this fantastic space at The Garry Marshall Theater.  Theater should be a part of every kid’s life, I wish there were more productions of this brilliance in L.A.  Thank goodness The Garry Marshall Theatre has chosen to focus on bringing theatre to our youngest humans because they can learn so much from seeing these classic plays, especially when they are so beautifully presented.

I highly recommend “The Enchanted Nightingale” at the Garry Marshall Theatre. Bring your kids, bring your grandkids, bring your friends’ kids!  But most of all bring the little kid inside yourself…and be “enchanted.”

The Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 W Riverside Dr., Burbank, 91505

January 12 – March 18, Saturdays and Sundays at 11AM, select 7PM Friday performance

Written by Fran De Leon and Lori Marshall based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen

Directed by Fran De Leon


Emperor Li – Marc Fajardo

Mrs Wu – Karen Huie

Major Mi – Ravi Kapoor

Chef Zu/Jade – Jully Lee

Female understudy – Melody But

Make Understudy –  Kawika Aguilar

Production Staff

Rebecca Raines – Production Stage Manager, Master Electrician

Benjamin Warren – Master Carpenter

Jim Niedzialkowski – Crew/Light Board Operator

Meghan Ims – Assistant Costume Designer

Ellen M. Schulze – Puppet Designer

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.