Emily Thielmeier, Kiersten Vorheis, & William (Billy) Flood. Photo: Jonathan Cherry.

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs 

By Robert Kauzlaric, Paul Gilvary, William Rush
Based on the book by Jon Scieska, & Lane Smith
Directed & choreographed by Cami Glauser

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2019 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Let me start with the costumes. Evan Prizant is brilliant and innovative in how he reconceives traditional expectations, which is to say he follows the revisionist aesthetic of Jon Scieska and Lane Smith’s milestone in children’s literature, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

He does it not by dressing the actors in pig and wolf costumes, but by alluding to the awkwardness of porcine physicality with pear-shaped lower halves that lead the actors’ movement, and by imagining the wolf as an Elvis-like charmer, sweet but also slick and dynamic, complete with an oversized pompadour.

All of which underscores the offbeat whimsy of a fresh take on an iconic story. We know it in our bones and this reinterpretation seizes upon that familiarity while subverting our expectations. The wolf’s visitation to the three little pigs and their straw, sticks, and brick-constructed homes is replayed in a courtroom, first from the prosecution’s (the pigs) point-of-view, and then from the wolf, who serves as his own lawyer. When the time comes for the verdict, the audience is polled as the jury, so that each performance may have one of two endings.

Both stories are persuasive, but the way the script is structured, I’m willing to bet which ending will be most popular.

Prizant’s costumes do not stand alone; they are just the most impactful element of a solid design scheme, all of it in support of a bright, tuneful score lovingly realized by Music Director Gayle King.

They also must come fully alive inhabited by actors and the ensemble at play here. If William (Billy) Flood’s wolf feels a little underwhelming, its because he is not buying into the cliché of the one-dimensional villain with a rapacious appetite for pork, his lower-key characterization making the lupine creature more sympathetic. But the most standout work comes from Monica Del Guercio, not just by inhabiting more roles (Rocky/Billy Shears/Martha/Maxwell/Pig 3) but also by delivering an abundance of energy and performative ingenuity. If versatility is the hallmark of good acting, Ms. Del Guercio deserves praise for her terrific work here.

Kiersten Vorheis (Prudence/Pig 1), Embry Thielmeier (Lillian Magill), and Jillian Prefach (Julia/Pig 2) are also excellent, and Amy Davis does fine support work in various capacities but primarily as Puppeteer. The production makes nice use of the art form, augmenting while never distracting from the narrative.

There is so much happening on the stage that chaos and clutter are easily welcomed, but director/choreographer Cami Glauser keeps the action clean and focused.

StageOne ends its season on a definite high note with this production, a sparkling example of why it is folly to underestimate theatre for children.

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs

Public show dates: March 22 @ 7:00 pm

March 30, & April 13* at 11:00 am & 2 pm

*Sensory-friendly performance

Stage One Family Theater
The Brown Theatre
315 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202


Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.



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