Princess Briar Rose isn't exactly looking for her prince charming. She wants to conquer life.

But, before that can happen, she wants to teach her friend, Prince Owain, how to overcome his fears. 

The young princess with a will of her own, however, becomes the victim of a hex and falls asleep, thus becoming "Sleeping Beauty."

Playmakers of Baton Rouge brings the revamped telling of the classic fairy tale to LSU's Claude L. Shaver Theatre, opening May 31.

"It's a chance to tell a story of female empowerment," said director Elizabeth Thomas. "Fairy tales have taken a hit recently because their female characters aren't considered strong. But Briar Rose is strong."

Charles Way wrote the new version with music by Chad Henry, adding a modern touch of humor with a strong female lead.

"Once upon a time, a long, long time ago," the story begins, two magical sisters known as the bright witch Branwen, played by Emily Street, and the dark witch Modron, played by Evie Trahan, discover a baby in the woods.

Branwen gives the baby to the childless king and queen, played by Wil Thomas and Emily Rodriguez. But Modron vows that if she can't have the girl, no one else can.

Modron casts a spell. Before night’s end on her 16th birthday, Briar Rose, played by Elizabeth McDonald, will prick her finger on a spinning wheel’s spindle and fall to her death. Branwen can't reverse the spell but is able to revise it from death to a 100-year sleep.

Only the touch of true love’s kiss will break the spell.

Knowing that much can happen in 16 years, Branwen sends Briar Rose a companion, Gryff, a creature half-man and half-dragon played by Elizabeth Ortiz.

The story also has Celtic and Welsh cultural overtones with fairies and a Spider King, played by Matthew Campbell, who Orwain, played by Logan Burge, must find the courage to conquer.

In the end, Briar Rose rescues Owain, Thomas said.

"And when she does, she also rescues herself." 

'Sleeping Beauty'

Playmakers of Baton Rouge's summer musical

WHEN: 7 p.m. May 31, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. June 1, 2 p.m. June 2, June 8 and June 9

WHERE: Claude L. Shaver Theatre in the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building, Dalrymple Drive

TICKETS/INFO: $21, $15.75 for ages 2-11. (225) 578-6996 or

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.