Premiere of the original German version: 15. Juni '98
dietheater im Kuenstlerhaus, Vienna
"Red Riding! Red Riding!"-
The story of Little Red Riding Hood is a well-known fairy tale. Once upon a time (“Once!”) there was an enchanted forest where young and old came to admire the trees and pick herbs and berries. Until one day a big, bad wolf came and frightened everybody away. But then the brave hunters appeared to track down the wolf...
At least that is how the tale used to be told. But in this musical it seems that things are not quite going to work out that way!
All the requisite characters are here. It’s just that they do not fit the traditional stereotypes. The hunters are nearsighted, Little Red Riding Hood is stubborn and disobedient (just like children in a real life!), and Grandmother herself is not only spry, she’s downright sprightly. And the wolf? He’s the biggest surprise of all!
Now back to our story.
Red Riding Hood does not want to go to visit her sick Grandma, she wants to stay and play! (“I Want to Play Now”). Exasperated, mother tells Red Riding Hood that she will send the neighbor to Grandmother. Driven by a spirit of contradiction, Red Riding Hood decides that visiting Grandma is not such a bad idea after all.
She sets off through the woods, but the forest frightens her. To keep up her courage, she recalls how when her papa was alive, they used to walk together in the forest (“Red Riding Hood”).
Suddenly, a big, bad wolf bursts upon the scene. He espies Little Red Riding Hood, and comments, “What a delicious morsel!” It seems, though, that he is more interested in courting her than eating her. He claims to be misunderstood, not really such a bad fellow at all, accompanying himself on his electric guitar (“The Big, Bad Wolf”).
The wolf complains that he is being pursued by the hunters, and Red Riding Hood, charmed, gives him her basket and points him in the direction of Grandmother’s house.
The wolf exits, and the hunters arrive in hot pursuit (“Hunter Rap”). They inquire of Red Riding Hood where the wolf can have gone. She points them in the wrong direction, and they continue their hunt.
Night is falling. Red Riding Hood, becoming afraid, searches for the path (“Deep Dark Woods”). She lies down under an enchanted tree, and her mother appears to sing her to sleep (“Lullaby”).
While she sleeps, Little Red Riding Hood has a nightmare. She dreams the old Red Riding Hood legend, where the wolf eats up both Grandma and Red Riding Hood, and where the hunters slice open the Wolf and rescue them from his belly.
But ... it was just a nightmare! In reality, Grandmother and the wolf are happily playing cards together, and they wonder where Little Red Riding Hood can have gotten to.
To protect the wolf from the hunters, Grandmother puts a nightcap on him. “It doesn’t look bad on you at all!” she says flirtatiously. It seems that she, too, is smitten (“Wolf Riding”). And she is not worried about her granddaughter. All the women in the family are fearless! (“Fear, Fear, Fear!”).
The hunters approach (“Hunter’s Rap” Improvisation). They notice the wolf, and proceed to quarrel over who saw him first. The noise of their argument awakens the sleeping wolf, and the hunters go in pursuit of him (“In Pursuit of the Wolf”).
Red Riding Hood finally shows up, accompanied by two of the forest creatures, who tell her that the wolf has disappeared. Red Riding Hood laments his parting (“If Ever You Should Leave Me!”).
Mother and Grandmother carry in the “dead” Wolf and lay the “corpse” on the table. Red Riding Hood sees the “victim” and despairs. Suddenly the wolf moves, and indeed, (“Finale”) he has come back to life. He announces that he has decided to leave the dangerous forest and seek his fortune as a rock guitarist in New York City.
The hunters finally understand that it is not “their
story,” and they are roundly chastised by Mother, Grandmother, and
Red Riding Hood, who announces that she will accompany the wolf. The
wolf exits in pied piper fashion, as all follow him to a new life.