“Pinocchio” will learn the true meaning of forgiveness after living life on the wild side in The Children's Theatre, Inc.'s new musical, opening Saturday at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.

“Pinocchio” will learn the true meaning of forgiveness after living life on the wild side in The Children’s Theatre, Inc.’s new musical, opening Saturday at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.

Set in Italy during the 1800s, this version of the production follows the beloved tale Pinocchio, a boy-sized puppet built by the caring puppet maker Geppetto. Knowing of his longing for a son, the Blue Fairy brings Pinocchio to life as a reward for Geppetto's remarkably-generous spirit. Pinocchio is told by the Blue Fairy that if he always obeys his father, she will turn him into a real boy. But, the best laid plans can sometimes go awry, and Pinocchio's boyish longings lead him away from his father and on an adventure unlike any other.

Despite Pinocchio’s disobedience, which consequently forces his nose to stretch, his father never forsakes him.

Corey Del Castillo, who plays Geppetto, has always found the tale of “Pinocchio” endearing.

“[I like] the idea that he runs away and then his caring, loving father goes and tries to find him,” said 13-year-old Castillo, who admitted he wanted his nose to grow like Pinocchio’s when he was younger.

The Blue Fairy also has Pinocchio’s best interest in mind as she follows him throughout his journey.

“She isn’t really just a person who makes him into a real boy,” said Emily Rodden, portraying the Blue Fairy. “She’s also the person that sits there and is like his morals and tells him what’s right and wrong, because he doesn’t know yet. I’m like his mother.”

What’s stunning to director Sharon Crossen is that 9-year-old actor Paul Edelman, portraying Pinocchio, already knows the show’s entire script inside and out. Not to mention, Edelman is a newcomer to theater.

“He knows everybody’s lines and everybody’s blocking,” said Crossen, of Dover. “If they forget, he’s ready to tell them.”

Instead of getting on her performers about forgetting their lines, Crossen ironically has to remind Edelman to resist the urge to help his castmates with their parts.

“He’s a puppet and he’s not supposed to be able to tell them [lines],” she quipped.

Nevertheless, Edleman’s ability to retain so much information at a young age is a rare find.

“We don’t usually have people that could do that,” Crossen said.

When asked how he managed to learn the script so quickly, Edleman shrugged then remarked, “I don’t know.”

Not only does Edleman soak up information like a sponge, he’s also a skilled dancer and singer.

Crossen originally envisioned giving the lead role of Pinocchio to a child who was 11 or 12, but she says Edelman, due to his talents, has made it impossible for her to do so.

So she willingly handed the 9-year-old, who was 8 during auditions, the keys to the car.

“He’s got the rhythm to do this and he certainly has the drive,” Crossen said. “He’s ready.”


WHAT “Pinocchio,” presented by Children’s Theatre, Inc.

WHEN 7 p.m., Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday

WHERE Schwartz Center for the Arts, 226 S. State St., Dover

COST $10 for adults; $8 for children

INFO Visit schwartzcenter.com or call 678-5152