Bryn Booth plays a young girl who gets left with Matt Walley, an ogre with a tail, in “The Secret in the Wings.”

Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale?

Certainly playwright Mary Zimmerman does. And so does The Rogue Theatre, which is staging Zimmerman’s “Secret in the Wings,” based on somewhat obscure European fairy tales.

All good fairy tales have darkness woven together with humor and magic. “Secret” is no different.

It starts as a young girl’s parents take her to a babysitter. They see him as a nice man. She sees him as a monster with a tail and an urge to eat her.

He asks her to marry him. She refuses. Many times. And each time he does, he turns to his book of stories and reads her one as the story is acted out.

There’s the one about seven swans — seven brothers who are too noisy for Pops, so he turns them into swans. Their sister is determined to save them and is silent for seven years as she sews a jacket for each. Those jackets will restore them to human form. But she runs out of time and one jacket has just one sleeve, so that brother goes through life with a human arm and a swan’s wing.

In another, a king offers his daughter in marriage to any man who can make her smile. But if he fails, it’s off with his head.

“Girls in these stories are so stoic and heroic and suffer selflessly,” Zimmerman said about the play in a 2004 interview. “So, young teenage girls love this show. I think also that in a pretty adult way, the stories name something about the menace of childhood, the helplessness, the dependence, the sense of things being much larger than you are.”

Cynthia Meier directs, and the cast is made up of Bryn Booth, Patty Gallagher, Holly Griffith, Claire Hancock, Hunter Hnat, Ryan Parker Knox, Joseph McGrath, Aaron Shand and Matt Walley.

“Secret in the Wings” previews at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1; opening is 7:30 p.m. March 2. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays through March 17 at 300 E. University in the Historic Y. Previews are $28; regular performances $38.

It runs 80 minutes, with no intermission. Info: 551-2053 or

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at or 573-4128.

On Twitter: @kallenStar


Kathleen has covered the arts for the Star for 20 years. Previously, she covered business, news and features for the Tucson Citizen. A near-native of Tucson, she is continually amazed about the Old Pueblo's arts scene and feels lucky to be covering it.