DOVER - All signs point to 2012 being the year of "Snow White."
Not only can fans enjoy two theatrical versions of the fairy tale - "Mirror Mirror" staring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, and "Snow White and the Huntsman," starring Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the Wicked Queen - but local fans can also enjoy The Children's Theatre of Dover and Kent County's adaptation of the Brothers Grimm classic starting Saturday night at 7 and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover.
Co-director Karen Sawicki said with name changes for the seven dwarfs, new characters that "spice it up," and new scenes, the Children's Theatre version is not a replica of the famous Disney version, though it does stay true to the original storyline.
"It's a great story to re-create on stage," she said.
Co-director Bonnie Gladu said the new characters, including trees and birds that are "full of life," were added by directors after more than 80 children showed up for tryouts.
"With only 19 parts, it was a big challenge to choose," she said. "So we just added the new characters because we couldn't say no to the kids."
The directors said there are also many new plot twists in their version of "Snow White," but chose not to reveal them.
"There's a lot of humor and it's very cute and adorable," said main director Patricia Beetschen. "We've had a lot of fun doing it."
Ms. Gladu said she is excited to show off the "creative" costumes made by Terry Price and the quality of acting on stage, especially from the veteran actors.
"The older kids take acting seriously and put a lot of effort into it," she said.
Abby Slik, 15, of Magnolia, and Breanna Pierce, 17, of Dover, who play Snow White and the Evil Queen respectively, said acting comes naturally to them after many years of being on stage.
They said the older actors on set have taken it upon themselves to set an example for the younger kids who may not yet be as comfortable in front of an audience.
Abby said Snow White was her favorite princess growing up and is very excited to portray her.
"Right now, I'm pumped about the show," she said. "There are a lot of twists and turns the audience will really appreciate."
Breanna said she has incorporated aspects of the evil queen as seen in the Disney version, but has also created her own take on things.
"I want to make the character different from what anybody has seen before," she said.
Breanna, who has a history of playing villains, said she hopes to bring plenty of evil and witchiness to her character, something Abby said won't be a problem.
"She does evil so well, it's scary. But she's the nicest person in the world otherwise," she said.
Not only are veterans excited for the show, but so too are the newcomers like Cameron Catalino, 11, of Smyrna, who is one of two actors to play the Palace Cat.
"It has been an amazing experience," said the first-time actor who got involved with Children's Theatre because her friends were involved.
Like Abby, Cameron, a "Disney fanatic," said she is thrilled to be involved with "Snow White," and can't wait to take the stage this weekend.
For director Ms. Beetschen, "Snow White" will likely be her last production, which is why there are three co-directors - Ms. Gladu, Ms. Sawicki and Carol Ann Harding.
"It's bittersweet to know it is the last," said Ms. Beetschen, who started directing when her 23-year-old daughter was 8. "I love the kids and I love directing, but it is time to bring some new blood to the theater."
Tickets for "Snow White" are $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under and can be purchased by calling the Schwartz Center box office at 678-5152, visiting online or at the door. The Schwartz Center is at 226 S. State St.
Staff writer Jamie-Leigh Bissett can be reached at 741-8250 or firstname.lastname@example.org