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Paper Princess Premiere

Paper Princess Cast With Elisa Kleven

Cast members from the show with Elisa Kleven

Youth in Arts’ The Paper Princess and the Piñata premiered to enthusiastic school audiences Friday at the Marin Center Showcase Theatre in San Rafael.

Nearly 700 students, teachers and parents attended the sold out matinee performances of the new musical theatre production, which is based on the book series by Bay Area author/illustrator Elisa Kleven. YIA Director Miko Lee adapted the books for the stage and directed the production.

Original bilingual songs composed by Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Miguel Martinez had the children clapping and singing along in both Spanish and English. The story followed the Paper Princess through a series of gentle adventures, with Elisa’s artwork featured in onstage projections. Beautiful props and scenery also appeared onstage, recreated from Elisa’s illustrations by Miko and YIA Artists in Schools director Suzanne Joyal.

The performance featured Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez as narrator and lead vocalist, with Jalena Keane Lee starring as the Paper Princess. Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Zenon Barron performed several featured dances, including a traditional “bird dance” and a Ballet Folklorico-inspired turn as an animated marionette puppet. Ollin Martinez and Ayame Keane Lee appeared as children who help to create the Princess out of shapes, colors and imagination.

Two additional performances of the piece will be presented to the public Saturday, February 5 at 2 and 4 p.m.

Tickets are available an hour before each show at the Showcase Theatre.

The Paper Princess and the Piñata has been made possible in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the San Francisco Foundation and Autodesk.

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