SIOUX CITY -- Beware of cunning Little Bo Peeps and their bloodthirsty sheep.
At least that's what happens when Tess Maly, 12, is put in charge of a fleecy flock.
"I play the part of Little Bo Peep in a way that's different than in other productions," the Blessed Sacrament School sixth-grader said following a rehearsal.
Tess isn't kidding.
In Lamb Arts Regional Theatre's production of "Backwards Broadway," you'll see a lunatic Little Bo Peep, a giant-slaying Jack and the Beanstalk as well as a homicidal Snow White.
(SPOILER ALERT: The best way to get rid of pesky dwarfs is with the inconspicuous use of itching powder).
Think Little Orphan Annie wouldn't be getting a similar walk-on-the-wild-side makeover? Well, think again.
"I play Annie," said Khyah Vaughn, a South Sioux City Middle School sixth-grader. "But I'm playing Annie with attitude."
This is exactly what Lamb CEO Diana Wooley expects from her cast of singers, dancers and actors.
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"In 'Backwards Broadway,' we want our performers and our audiences to see classic musical numbers performed in a very unique way," she said with an air of mystery.
For instance, what would it be like if a man sang "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from "Evita" or if a female sang "If I Were a Rich Man" from "Fiddler on the Roof"? Yeah, you get the picture.
A fundraiser to benefit renovations for Lamb's new 625 Douglas St. theater, "Backwards Broadway" will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday at Country Celebrations, 5606 Hamilton Blvd.
In addition to the show, there will be hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar as well an auction hosted by the Sioux City Journal's Bruce Miller and Morningside College's Dave Madsen. All proceeds will be matched through a grant from the Gilchrist Foundation.
Even though he refuses to be called "Backwards Broadway's" director, Donny Short has been putting performers through their paces in a series of weeknight performers.
"No, I'm not the show's director or choreographer," the Lamb Theatre veteran explained. "I'm simply a collaborator."
So, what is Short collaborating on now?
A "Backwards Broadway" reinterpretation of "It's a Hard Knock Life" from "Annie." However, this version won't involve kids in an orphanage. Instead, it will involve hard-charging business types in a "Glengarry Glen Ross"-like setting.
Wooley can't help but smile as Short and his players offer up twisted takes on classic show tunes.
"Sioux City has a terrific theater community," she said. "We can't wait to see Lamb become a part of the downtown scene."