Smolin, Hunt take part in Fairy Tale Theater this summer

Ridgefield residents Taylor Hunt and Evan Smolin will share this spotlight Saturday, July 7, when the 20th season of Fairy Tale Theater kicks in Bethel.

Hunt is part of the theater company, which is a play series by and for young people. The 2018 shows include: “Charlotte’s Web” (July 7); “Hansel and Gretel” (July 14); “Rapunzel” and “Puss in Boots” (July 21); and “Beauty and the Beast” (July 28).

Smolin, a rising Ridgefield High School senior, helped adapt and direct the first show, Charlotte’s Web.

Performed by an ensemble of young area actors under the direction of veteran educator and performer Elyse Jasensky of Danbury, these hour-long, interactive adaptations of classic tales include plenty of audience participation, a show-related craft activity, birthday recognitions and a visit with Mother Goose (played by Jasensky).  In the case of inclement weather, the performance will be held inside the Workspace facility.

Joining Jasensky this season is longtime children’s theater director Missy Slaymaker-Hanlon of Ridgefield Theater Barn, who will take over the reins of Fairy Tale Theater later in the summer. “I’m already having a great time rehearsing and working with Elyse and the kids,” says Slaymaker-Hanlon. “We can’t wait to share these shows with all of you!”

Jasensky and Slaymaker-Hanlon are also excited to have Fairy Tale Theater alumnus and Ridgefield High School student Evan Smolin at the helm of “Charlotte’s Web,” the opening production.  Following in Jasensky’s footsteps, Smolin has both adapted and directed the story. “Evan brings incredible perspective to the company through his experience as a young actor and his solid understanding of what will entertain and engage our young audiences,” says Jasensky.  “Missy and I are over the moon to have his creative contributions this season!”

“We’re thrilled to return to Workspace Education with its beautiful grounds and versatile facility, which allows us to perform rain or shine,” says Jasensky. “It's also exciting to be supporting Workspace's program and to help spread the word about what they are doing in their amazing facility. They have been so welcoming to us, and we are delighted to be there!”

“I think parents will not only enjoy our performances but will also be impressed and intrigued by what Workspace has to offer,” she adds. “Between Fairy Tale Theater and Workspace, it’s a fantastic partnership.”

The 2018 Fairy Tale Theater student company includes Jacquelynn Matchen, Rachelle Matchen and Sammy Lopata (Bethel); Kayleigh Dickinson, Chloe Djilani, Ella Djilani, Amaris Guerra and Madison Molinaro (Danbury); Shane Dwy (New Fairfield); Michael Elston (Newtown); Taylor Hunt (Ridgefield); Elias Osborn (Sherman).  Performers from New York State include Joshua Grill (Carmel), Max Haran (Somers), and Samantha-Noel Treppeda (Poughquag).

Grounds at Workspace Education, located at 16 Trowbridge Drive in Bethel (look for the big red barn), open at 10:30 a.m. for the craft activity, with the show at 11 a.m. Bring blankets or chairs for seating on the lawn along with sunscreen; the performance will move indoors in the case of inclement weather.

Tickets are $5 each and may be purchased at the door. A small snack and drink concession is available. For further information, visit the website at, leave a message at 203-748-6873 or e-mail