‘A Message of Hope, Imagination and Friendship’ in Fairfax
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‘A Message of Hope, Imagination and Friendship’ in Fairfax

Greenbriar dad and daughter acting in “The Little Princess.”

Rehearsing a scene from City of Fairfax Theatre Co.’s “The Little Princess” are: (in back) Brandon Moon and (seated, from left) Gigi Moon, Alyssa Kiffer, Martha Zimmerman and Sydney Krug.

Rehearsing a scene from City of Fairfax Theatre Co.’s “The Little Princess” are: (in back) Brandon Moon and (seated, from left) Gigi Moon, Alyssa Kiffer, Martha Zimmerman and Sydney Krug. Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.

To Go

Friday, Nov. 30: Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; buffet dinner and show are at 7 p.m.;

Saturday, Dec. 1: Matinee at 2 p.m., and dinner and show at 7 p.m.;

Sunday, Dec. 2: Matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets for matinee and evening performances only (without dinner) are adults, $15, and students, $10, and may be purchased at the door or online via www.fairfaxcityth.... Dinner-theater tickets are $35 and must be purchased online in advance.

A father and daughter from Chantilly’s Greenbriar community have major roles in the City of Fairfax Theatre Co.’s upcoming play, “The Little Princess.” And people may either attend just the show or have a meal, as well, during two, dinner-theater performances.

This classic tale that’s been both a book and a movie is about Sarah Crewe. A young girl who’s been living with her wealthy father in India, she’s sent to England for a proper education while he’s away at sea.

“She has a wonderful imagination, and the other girls at the boarding school love her for brightening their lives,” said Co-Producer Jessica Russo. “But the headmistress is not a kind woman. And when Sarah’s father dies, she punishes Sarah by making her live in the attic and be a servant to her friends.”

Russo praised her “great cast of girls, ages 8-17, plus a few adults. The older kids have taken the younger ones under their wing, and they all get along well. The scenes take place at the school and in Sarah’s imagination, and we have an extensive set that’s really magical. And the early 1900s school uniforms the girls wear are adorable.”

“Our director, Jessica Dubish, has created a wonderful atmosphere of play and creativity for the kids,” continued Russo. “The audience will like our talented, young actors — there’s an energy from them that will make people smile. This show will get people in the mood for the holiday season and will present a message of hope, imagination and friendship.”

Greenbriar resident Brandon Moon plays Capt. Crewe, Sarah’s father. “He’s a widower who encourages imagination and creativity in his daughter,” said Moon. “He’s also adventurous, himself, and isn’t afraid to throw all his money into a diamond-mine venture. But he’s a good guy and the quintessential dad.”

Excited to be part of this theater company, Moon said, “I like working with Alyssa and the other girls. It’s my first role ever, so I get to explore a different side of myself. The play is about a girl and her father, and to be a part of that with my own daughter — [Gigi, portraying one of the schoolgirls] — is really special. My character is beloved, so it’s nice to have people look at me with stars in their eyes. And it’s fun to wear a uniform.”

Moon said the audience will enjoy the play because “It’s such a good message for girls coming of age. It’s the idea that every girl is a little princess and has special things about her that need to be encouraged. Parents should definitely bring their children to this show.”

His real-life daughter, Gigi, a fourth-grader at Greenbriar West Elementary, plays Becky, a servant girl who becomes Sarah’s friend. “Becky is terrified of the headmistress, Mess Minchin, who’s really mean,” said Gigi. “She tries to mind her own business, but she sometimes gets caught up in things and starts talking when she’s not supposed to. She’s friendly, obedient and nice and doesn’t want to get in trouble.”

Gigi likes her role because, she said, “I have this really cool British accent. I also like my costume – a boy’s shirt with a plaid jumper over it. And it’s fun because Becky’s not supposed to talk to the other girls; but when Miss Minchin is out of the room, Becky gives huge speeches.”

As for the show, Gigi said people will like all the characters’ attitudes and how the girls react to Minchin. “They’ll also enjoy the scenes that are really touching,” she said. “And the set is so detailed — they did such a good job painting it.”

Portraying Sarah is seventh-grader Alyssa Kiffer. “At the beginning, she has everything, but isn’t snobby,” said Alyssa. “She’s kind and generous to others. Then when she loses everything, she starts to lose hope in herself. But her friends help her gain confidence again.”

Alyssa said Sarah is always imagining things. “When something isn’t going well for her, she pretends it’s different, and she helps others pretend, too, to cheer them up,” said Alyssa. “She’s a role model for me because everyone wants to be a person who always has a positive attitude toward others, no matter what.”

She said it’s challenging because she had to learn so many lines. “But it’s also fun because, as the lead, you get to create character choices to show how your character changes over time,” she said. “You also get to illustrate the moral of the story — if you keep moving forward and have a positive outlook, your life may become better.”