WVHS’s Updated Broadway-version of Cinderella Is A Tale Of Creative Collaboration And Personal Empowerment
Wilsonville High School Performing Arts Department is proud to present Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. While there are many versions of this classic fairy tale, WVHS will perform the recently updated Broadway version, which premiered in 2013 with Laura Osnes as Cinderella and Santino Fontano as Prince Topher.
Senior Samantha Katz plays Ella, dubbed ‘Cinderella’ by her less than supportive step-mother, Madame, played by senior Katie Walter. Prince Topher is played by senior Ari Lauthner. Like Ella, he has challenges with the older generation, mostly springing from a manipulative guardian named Sebastian, played by senior Casey Young.
Topher should be happy, after all, he is the prince. But despite being an above-average slayer of dragons, giants and ogres, he doesn’t know who he is. On the other side of the forest, Ella lives in a cottage with her step-mother and spoiled step-sisters, Gabriella, played by senior Mikaela Ochocki, and Charlotte played by senior Averyl Hartje. Ella has settled into her lot in life and has learned to tolerate poor treatment from her step-sisters and their doting mother. She is content to live in a fantasy world until she is lured beyond her own little corner of the house when she hears that the prince is giving a ball.
Bringing the magic and possibilities is ‘crazy’ Marie, played by junior Kaiya Shivers, an elderly women, who turns out to be not quite as cuckoo as everyone thinks. Once she transforms into Ella’s fairy godmother the entire production takes a turn towards the magical.
This version of the fairy tale has a new character, a political activist in Renaissance times, Jean Michele, played by junior Cormac Lister, who longs to romance step-sister Gabriella. Another new addition to this version of the story is Lord Pinkleton, comedic town crier for the crown played by sophomore Cian Lister.
This show puts the spotlight on contemporary themes: choosing kindness over cruelty, activating personal power, transforming unfortunate circumstances, taking risks, standing up to difficult others, and blossoming into a person who can forgive those who have made mistakes.
By the end of the show, Ella reminds us that with the help of a few friends, anyone can access enough personal power to trust themselves, make a difference and become the change needed in the world.
According to director Jason Katz, “Initially, I was looking for a show with enough female parts for all the students we have who want to participate. With all of the ballroom dances, village scenes and even a chase scene, Cinderella fits that bill. But this version of the fairy tale is really an empowerment story about two young people, who don’t feel like they have a voice in their own lives. By connecting with like-minded others, they get and give the help they need to become more clear and assertive, and ultimately that’s what creates the happy ending for Ella and Topher.”
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a team effort of the performing arts departments at Wilsonville High School. Jason Katz is in his sixteenth year of directing musicals. Choir director Annie Kubitschek is the vocal director for her fourth year. Chad Davies will conduct the pit orchestra for the eighth time. Choreographing her second show at WVHS is Kate Jahnson. John Fitzgerald is tech director for his eleventh year.
This is a live theatrical production of the original Broadway show and is therefore recommended for ages 5 and up. There are six performances in the Wilsonville Auditorium and they are all evening shows. The show begins at 7 pm on November 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. Tickets for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella are $12 for adults and $10 for students and children. Tickets may be pre-purchased at www.wildcatdrama.com.