Here comes the Troll: Children’s School to perform at OFN

Be alert, trolls are taking over the Amphitheater — singing and dancing trolls that is.

The Children’s School will present their annual “Troll Play” during the Old First Night ceremony at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.

“It is a very interactive play, and before the play we are doing a sing-along,” said Pie Kasbar, the Children’s School music specialist.

The children begin their tribute with 10 short songs that express their love for the Children’s School, Chautauqua and their country, along with interactive songs.

Some familiar songs are “Children’s School Song,” “We Love Chautauqua,” “Wheels on the Bus” and “Singing in the Rain,” to name a few.

Years ago, John Denton, along with others in the Blue/Yellow Room adapted the idea of the “Troll Play” from the classic tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The story was tweaked to fit Chautauqua.

“Instead of billy goats, it is the children of Chautauqua, and instead of the troll under the bridge, it is Thunder Bridge Troll,” Kasbar said. “So, as the years went on, the story began spiraling, and more is added to it each year — [John] has like this saga going on.”

The “Troll Play” is centered on Thunder Bridge, which is where the Thunder Bridge Troll and his wife, Phantom of the Ampera, live. As the children of Chautauqua pass over the bridge, the Thunder Bridge Troll steals their ice cream.

“Last year, he fell in love with the Hunchback of the Bell Tower, but this year he is married to the Phantom of the Ampera,” she said. “This play is hilarious.”

The children’s tribute segment is interactive. Audience members are able to sing along and participate in the play. Keywords in the show will require a cue response from the audience. Kasbar will lead the interactive cues within the play.

“I’m going to tell everyone what they have to say during the cue response,” she said. “There are five cues throughout the play.”

For example, whenever a character says “troll,” the audience must laugh “Yee Hee Hee,” and the cue response for “ice cream” is the famous phrase “Ice, Ice, Baby.”

Although Kit Trapasso plays the Thunder Bridge Troll and Denton plays the Phantom of the Ampera, the children are able to sing, dance and interact with the audience.

“We are going to pick 20 kids and put green swim caps on them because they will play baby trolls. The kids are going to come out and we are going to sing and dance,” Kasbar said.

The children will assemble on the stage at another point during the program to sing three tribute songs and present their Old First Night donation for Chautauqua’s birthday.