Do you ‘Believe?’: Paul Emery Presents a musical theater fairy tale |

Do you ‘Believe?’: Paul Emery Presents a musical theater fairy tale

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector
Dalrymple MacAlpin as the Storyteller in "Make Believe." MacAlpin also wrote, scored, and directed the play, opening Friday at the Nevada Theatre.
Submitted Photo


WHAT: “Make Believe” with Dalrymple MacAlpin as The Storyteller, An Archetypal Musical Theater Fairy Tale for the Young & Young at Heart

WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. except Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. - Jan. 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, Feb. 1, 2, 3

TICKETS: $30 Reserved Seats, $20 General Admission, $10 Children 12 and under at BriarPatch Co-op and online at

Since 1972, Paul Emery has been bringing unique music and theater productions to Nevada City.

People have come to expect a quality to anything associated with the musician-turned-producer. His latest project is no exception.

“Make Believe,” written, scored and directed by Dalrymple MacAlpin, is an original piece Emery is excited to support.

“The reason I am taking this on is he (MacAlpin) wrote and produced a play called, “The Middle Kingdom,” at The Center For The Arts a few years ago,” said Emery, “and it was remarkable, really remarkable. He scored the music, wrote the songs. Because of that production, when he said he wanted to debut this new work at the Nevada Theatre, I said sure. I totally support local artists, and this is just outstanding.”

MacAlpin is a professional composer, playwright, puppeteer, storyteller and poet. This is his second play and ninth album.

“Make Believe” is billed as “an archetypal music theater fairytale for the young and the young at heart.” It studies the dual nature of darkness and light.

MacAlpin said, “‘Make Believe’ first started out as an album for children, inspired by German composer Carl Orff and his music for children. As I was composing, I saw within the music a story forming, and began writing this play about six sisters, each one different from the next.

“They are daughters of a fairy who are kidnapped by their evil uncle who deposits them into the ‘other’ world.”

The story unfolds with the search for the daughters and their ultimate reunion with their mother.

“Children grow up believing whole heartily in the most unbelievable things,” said MacAlpin. “So how is it we ever lose faith in the power of our imagination? My wish with ‘Make Believe’ is to remind the audience, magic not only exists, it also contains an inescapable soul, which has in fact never left us.”

MacAlpin added, “Children will love the giants and the witches and all the crazy antics while adults will be able to appreciate the deeper layers of meaning interwoven in the text.”

The play touts an amazing cast, including members of the world-touring “Faun Fables” from Sonoma County, and the classically trained singer John Ames who has a range so deep that composers write works specifically for his voice. “He plays one of our giants and is just remarkable,” MacAlpin said. “We also have a nine- piece orchestra playing about 20 different instruments.

“I have dedicated ‘Make Believe’ to these real life six sisters who lived next door to The Brothers Grimm. In a strange coincidence, after I wrote the play, I was reading a biography about the brothers Grimm and found out there were six sisters that lived next door to them very much like the six sisters in my play.”

Not only did the sisters live next door, MacAlpin explained, but the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected stories from the girls, including many of the fairy tales we know today such as Rumpelstilzchen, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, The Singling Bone and more.

As for Emery, he said, “I am thrilled to be producing this. It is a very big production. I love supporting local artists. I am getting to the age where most of my heroes are dead or not feeling well. I do 25 to 30 performances a year. This is eight.

“I love bringing productions that make people feel good, that makes them feel something. It is not always feeling good, but it is feeling something.”

Look for the return of the Leonard Cohen show, “A Thousand Kisses Deep” the second week in February of which Emery is especially fond.

“Everything I produce, I do because I have affection for it. I have a talented group of people who work with me and I love working with these local venues.”

Emery and MacAlpin agree the Nevada Theatre is the perfect place to debut their latest play.

“The Nevada Theatre is a magic place,” said Emery. “I am not an overly cosmic guy, but that place is really special. Mark Twain was on that stage for crying out loud.”

He added, “The theatre is in really good operating condition right now. Everything works well. They put in a great sound system. The acoustics are good. The seating is comfortable. I really like working with (theatre manager) Tom Taylor. He works so hard to help everyone with what they are doing.

“And Nevada County has a population that likes to go out — more than anywhere I have ever been. Most of our audience is local people. We have a great performing arts community who really support each other. “

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at

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