The Dead Prince


the strange tree group
The Dead Prince

Book, Music & Lyrics by Emily Schwartz

Directed by Paul S.Holmquist

Produced by The Strange Tree Group

At the DCA’s Storefront Theatre, Chicago

Whimsical, funny, and tuneful new musical fable demonstrates Emily Schwartz’s amazing talent

A new musical comedy. A rarity. How often do we witness a completely new musical comedy with the book, ,music and lyrics written by one person? That is what awaits audiences at the DCA Storefront Theatre with The Dead Prince by the super-talented Jeff Award winning Emily Schwartz. This lady is a major talent! Her latest work, The Dead Prince, with terrific staging by Paul S. Holmquist, is her finest, most complete and wholesomely funny show to date! This world premiere is destined to grace Equity stages-maybe even the Broadway stage! It is that good.

the strange tree group

The Dead Prince is an original, rambunctious, family-friendly fairy tale muzikal that is filled with charm, whimsy and loads of heart. The 100 minute one-act contains all the funny characters with birds, wolves, a bear, and an owl. Utilizing The Strange Tree Group’s manic staging filled with epic-style storytelling, The Dead Prince is funny, adventurous, and romantic. The Strange Tree Group style is always a mash-up of literary styles that stretches conventional theatrical norms which becomes a playful, comic, and lively fairy tale musical.  With a nice array of folk tunes and haunting ballads, The Dead Prince is a delightful musical with burst of magical realism complete with polished tunes.

the strange tree group

The Dead Prince is the story of a put-upon princes,  Sara (the golden voiced Ann Sonneville) who is told by every magic mirror in the land that her true love has died and the two were never destined to meet. But the evil Maldorf (Michael Thomas Downey) convinces her that she can  sneak across the void and steal him back if she will free him from being trapped in a mirror. With her faithful friend Will (Zachary Sigelko), she embarks on a quest to find her true love. But, along her journey, all sorts of adventures await. This musical comedy is full of action, corpses, bat attacks, horrible misunderstandings as the quest becomes all the characters adventure. This lovable wacky troupe wins us with their charm, heart and romantic spirit. Puppets, actors singing and playing instruments as well as scary costumes (by Delis Baseman) with eerie lighting (by Becca Jeffords)  adds t0 add to the atmosphere and fun tones of this family-friendly musical fairy tale.

the strange tree group

Who can resist folks in love and a hilarious, nice-guy corpse?  Scott Cupper wins our hearts as the dead prince who comes to life in a series of funny physical movements that almost brings the house down.  Michael Thomas Downey’s fog-horn voice and dark comic chops was a hoot while Elizabeth Bagby anchors the show as the Captain narrator. The committed cast of thirteen players deftly navigated Holmquest’s fine staging as the fast-paced show never fails to engage us with its wit and heart-felt  fun.

Come and take the fairy tale musical comedy quest with The Strange Tree Group – you’ll smile, laugh and be musically captivated by the original story told with manic energy. This is a smart, well written show that is ready for prime time.  One can home that the major musical comedy producers from The Theatre at the Center, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Theatre and Chicago Spokeshave Theater come to see The Dead Prince and  Emily Schwatrz’. She is a  major theatrical artist whose work needs to be mounted at the next level.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago  podcast

Date Reviewed: November 22. 2013

For more info checkout The Dead Prince page at

At the DCS Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago, IL,, tickets $15, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 100 minutes without an intermission, through Dec 22, 2103

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