Cool beans! ‘Jack’ comes to stage

Sheri Byrd
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Long-time patrons of Razz-Ma-Tazz Family Theater will find yet another treat in the new production of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” opening tonight at 6 p.m. at the Ramstein Community Center. Newcomers will discover how lucky the KMC is to boast such home-grown talent and dedication.

The show opens with the smooth, folksy sound of the minstrel narrator, strumming his guitar. The role is skillfully portrayed by Airman 1st Class Kyle Beshears, who serves during the day as a U.S. Air Forces in Europe Computer Systems Squadron command and control systems administrator.

The audience is quickly introduced to the title character, Jack, played by the delightfully entertaining newcomer, 12-year-old Jake Ronza. Jake’s parents dared him to audition for the show, and he displays his newly blossoming talents of acting, singing and dancing throughout the entire show.

Jack’s mother captivates with endearing expressions. As a homeschooling mother of six, actress Mary Erickson is more than believably maternal.

The bizarre man with magic beans creeps on to the stage with appropriate repugnance. Enhancing the effect of his ominous persona is the first of the extensive prosthetic makeup jobs featured in this show.

Capt. Brent Wardell, normally a maintenance operations officer with the 86th Maintenance Operations Squadron, sends shivers down the spine of the audience with his sinister snickering.

Lucky the cow, a.k.a. Airman 1st Class Griffin Colón, command and control systems administrator with the 721st Air Mobility Operations Group, wins the audience’s hearts with dead-pan bovine puns.

The ever-changing set shows just how ingenious the volunteer designers were, as with the simple swish of a curtain, an idyllic farm setting becomes the exterior, and then interior, of the giant’s castle – and back again.

Another pair of RMT veterans once again grace the stage as the frightening giant and his overwrought cook. Senior Airman Phillip Wentz of the 568th Security Forces Squadron, as well as actress and active mom Trendalyn Money-Fugo, have been stars of the KMC stage for more than two years.

However, even long-time RMT fans should not expect to recognize the pair, as their costumes, prosthetics, makeup and accents transform them into characters quite beyond their everyday selves.
“The prosthetics are a little scary,” said Airman Wentz. “I really sweat onstage and I’m afraid my ears are going to fall off!”

Juliana Knaup, 11, gives beautiful comic relief as the golden-egg laying goose, and those who think they know this story will be wonderfully surprised by the soulful, non-traditional tunes of the harp, 14-year-old Rachel Seachris.

Director Paula Fairbrother has once again coordinated a top-notch performance from more than two dozen cast and crew members.
“Altogether, they were a phenomenal set of volunteers,” she said.
The show runs weekends through Oct. 3. Show times are 6 p.m. today, Saturday, Oct. 1 and 2; 2 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 3. Tickets are available at the Ramstein Community Center; $5 for ages 13 and older; $4 for ages 3 to 12; and free 2 and younger. For details, call 480-6600.