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Snow White

Hilly Bodin as Snow White and Courtney Giannone as The Prince

By Edward Rubin

The ad campaign for Company XIV’s production of Snow White at the Minetta Lane Theatre inspired by the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale that we all grew up knowing – is being sold as an adult version of the folk tale, reflected in a no holds barred production, as directed by triple threat Bad Boy Austin McCormick, with half naked men and women acting, dancing and otherwise  (McCormick’s Nutcracker Rouge was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of unique theatrical experience in 2014 and for best choreography for Rococo Rouge in 2015).

Hilly Bodin as Snow White (seated) and Courtney Giannone as The Prince (standing)                                                                     

photos by Mark Shelby Perry

Eliciting strains of the late 1920’s Weimer cabaret scene, the waves of eroticism that peopled the stage was a lot more audiovisual than visceral.  Snow White’s use of mood inducing music from classical to rap to pop, Jeanette Oi-Suk Hew’s lighting that bathed the actors in amatory hues of red, Zane Pihlstrom’s eye-popping costumes, both ornately designed and near-nude peek-a-boo produced a kind of ecstasy.  McCormick has thrown everything, as well as the kitchen sink, onto the stage. Some judicious editing, especially in the first act which seemed to drag on, would have done us all well.

Hilly Bodin as Snow White (center), Laura Careless as The Queen (second from right) and the cast of Company XIV’s Snow White

Most annoying was the play’s continual use of a rolling Punch and Judy booth, the type seen at carnivals, to further along the story. Equally weak, although it must have seemed visually exciting to the director at the time, is the use of two fan-like, hand held signs on which images of the seven dwarfs, barely seen by the audience, are drawn. Yes, you heard it here. There are no dwarfs aka in PC lingo as Little People in this extravaganza, or for that matter, no human’s posing as dwarfs. The only males in Snow White, and there are four, or maybe five dancers, and all are there to service the Evil Queen (Laura Careless). Even Prince Charming (Courtney Ginannone) whose kiss frees Snow White (Hilly Bodin) from the queen’s curse, adding a nice gender-bending touch, is played by woman. When not on stage Ginannone, also a classical pianist, hits the 88’s with music by Debussy and Prokofiev. It is her amazingly deft Cyr wheel performance in the second half of the play that elicits the first rounds of unrestrained applause.              

When all of accessorized  values – the lighting, music, costumes, props, flashing video images of the actor/dancers on a diaphanous curtain, and the choreography, both solo and ensemble, modern, jazz, and ballet – meld into one, the true genius of the McCormick, as well as the exquisite athleticism of the finely tuned dancers, are ushered into view. Also, added to the mix is opera trained Mary Richardson who sings songs by Franz Schubert, Handel and Britney Spears. Though everybody plays an important part in this soufflé, it is Hilly Bodin’s Snow White, and Laura Careless’s Evil Queen, the two flashiest jewels in the setting, that get to do most of the shimmering.

Laura Careless as The Queen

It is wonderful to watch the actresses have a go at each other. But when all is said and done, it is Careless whose extraordinary acting chops steal our hearts. Just watching her fall apart – with Maria Callas-like screaming, head-twisting, tossing of hair, and facial contortions, when she sees that Snow White, with a Prince in hand no less, is not dead – is worth the price of admission alone. In humanizing the queen we are almost made to feel sorry for her. It is a harrowing experience, the type that usually garners both notice and awards. I see great things in Careless’s future. Hopefully when it finds her she will be ready, willing and able.       


Photo by Steven Truman Gary

Snow White at the Minetta Lane Theate, 18 Minetta Lane, NYC. Tickets: from $40 to $65, Premium/VIP searing from $75-$105, $30 under 30, rush tickets available at box office beginning two hours prior to curtain.

Tickets available at or by calling 800-745-3000

2 Hrs and 10 minutes running time. Last performance on  Saturday, March 12, 2015


Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by: Austin McCormick

Music: Marvin Laird

Set/Costume Design: Zane Pihlstrom

Technical Director: John Starmer

Lighting and Production Design: Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew

Makeup Design: Sarah Cimino

Sound Engineer: Harrison Adams

Graphic Design: Kyle Ballentine

Puppet Design: Zane Pihlstrom, Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew

Video Footage: Corey Tatarczuk