A Merry Mash-Up of the Brothers Grimm
By Adam Neubauer and Samantha Levenshus
Enter the familiar world of “Once Upon a Time,” as a chipper Minstrel takes you (and a small, curious boy), on a journey of epic proportions. In a magical forest, we find the characters from the Grimm’s tales; Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, and The Frog Prince all working their way to their own happy endings. Along the journey, their tales collide at a breakneck pace, keeping these age-old stories feeling fresh for the 21st century. Devilishly funny and brimming with wit, The Grimm World will bring out the kid in everyone.
As the audience finds their seats, a lively minstrel entertains with his lute. A young child in the audience is ready to hear an unforgettable tale. However, the Minstrel has something else in mind. After some negotiation, the child manages to coax the Minstrel into beginning a story.
With “once upon a time,” (a suggestion from the child) we are introduced to Hansel, Gretel, and their Stepmother, who convinces their father, a Huntsman, to leave the children in the woods. The siblings are lost and alone when a Prince enters with his servant, Henry, who is towing Snow White around in a coffin. The Prince gives Hansel and Gretel directions to the cottage where they found Snow White. On their way, the children meet a Princess who drops a golden ball into their path. Hansel accidentally throws it into a well and he and Gretel run off. The princess begins to cry.
Overhearing the crying, a frog hops up and offers to help. In return he requests her love and the princess agrees, but upon returning with the golden ball, the princess rushes home, leaving him hopping after her.
The child from the audience interrupts the Minstrel to ask about Snow White. The Minstrel gladly tells how Snow White’s mother died when she was a baby and that her father remarried her Evil Stepmother. When Snow White grew up to be more beautiful than her Stepmother, her Stepmother ordered a Huntsman (Hansel and Gretel’s father) to take Snow White to the woods and kill her. However, the Huntsman was a good man and let her go. Newly freed, Snow White comes across a young woman crying by a tree. “Who is that?” asks the child, to which the Minstrel replies, “Why, that’s Cinderella!”
He explains about Cinderella’s mean Stepmother and Stepsisters (who join them onstage) as well as how Cinderella came to plant a tree at the grave of her mother, which contained a white bird that granted wishes. An invitation to a ball arrives and despite Cinderella’s efforts, her Stepmother refuses to let her go.
Meanwhile, Snow White comes across the cottage of the Seven Dwarves, the Princess is celebrating the return of her golden ball with her father, the King, and the Minstrel is reminded that he needs to return to the story of the two siblings.
Excited, Hansel and Gretel come across a house made of candy but the witch who lives there locks them away. Luckily, Gretel devises a plan and saves her brother and herself.
The frog makes his way up the castle steps. After hearing of his daughter’s promise, the King orders that the frog join them for dinner and get a good night’s sleep. The princess, angry about having to room with an ugly frog, pushes him away. The frog magically turns into a prince and confesses his love. Her touch broke the spell and the two decide to get married.
The child reminds the Minstrel about Snow White. Continuing his tale, he tells how the Stepmother discovers that Snow White was still alive and tries to kill her. The dwarfs manage to thwart two attempts, but the third is successful and the dwarfs put Snow White in a coffin. The Prince and Henry happen by. Falling instantly in love with Snow White, the Prince takes her with them.
Elsewhere, the white bird gives Cinderella a dress and slippers and Cinderella goes to the ball. She captures the Prince’s affection, but at midnight, she rushes off, leaving a slipper behind. The Prince takes the slipper door to door in search of Cinderella. He finds her and they decide to marry.
The Minstrel announces that there will be a double wedding! It is at this event that Hansel and Gretel reunite with their father. As the ceremony gets going, Henry bumps into Snow White, who awakes. The Prince explains to Cinderella and Snow White how he fell in love with both, but ultimately decides to marry Cinderella, which is fine with Snow White who decides to spend her life with the recently separated Huntsman (and Hansel and Gretel’s father). The wedding continues and everyone lives happily ever after.