SHIPPENSBURG >> Young fans of Shippensburg University's Little Princess Playhouse come "dressed to the hilt" in princess and charming prince outfits, said Dr. Paul Leitner, SU professor of theater arts who, along with his wife, Gretchen, produces enchantment for the younger set in the castle-like Stewart Hall on SU's campus.

The Little Princess Playhouse will present two new fairy tale adaptations April 25 and May 2. The double feature shows begin at 10 and 11:30 a.m.

"Magic in the Castle" is the theme of the two new tales that focus on the theme of magic spells and enchantment.

A new adaptation, "The Singing Princesses," based on a "Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses" DVD, tells the bewitching tale of six lovely ladies caught in a spell and the handsome young lad who must break it. The second story, "The Prince and the White Cat," is an adaptation of the classic, "The Frog Prince." In the story, a young woman has been magically transformed, her only hope lying in finding a prince who will love her for her inner beauty.

Gretchen writes the adaptations, said Leitner. "We have to write the stories to suit our classes. We never know how many female parts, how many male parts, we will have."

Sometimes Gretchen gets creative and writes a parody, as she did last season of the popular "Frozen" movie. Do children get the jokes, the poking fun?

"By far!" Leitner said. "But we also write for the parents, who are also sitting there. Sometimes children don't get the 1980s or 1990s jokes, but their parents do."

The playhouse was created for the very young who may not otherwise get a chance to see live art, said Leitner. Gretchen explained "Here, children sit on the carpet within an arm's reach of the actors. It is a very intimate space, a classroom size ... Exposure to the theater at a young age promotes a lifelong love and appreciation of the arts."

"Many of our student actors are studying to be teachers, not Broadway professionals," said Leitner. "They are learning how to get up in front of children and engage children's literature by using theater as the medium. We hope these young teachers will take their experience into their classrooms, encouraging their own students to learn to be creative and communicate with others."

Tickets for the double feature are $4 and are available at the door. Seating is limited.

Parking is free in the Memorial Auditorium lot, a walk away from Stewart Hall, the building that looks like a castle.

For more information, call 477-1638.

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