Nov
07

“Cinderella” a ‘possible’ production



BJ Menter 11/07/06More articles
It is a sociological fact that every known culture has a version of the “Cinderella” story within their history. Of course, Walt Disney’s animated version has been the standard in North America for decades. However, it was Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s musical, “Cinderella,” which really elevated the vision (and the version) of the story from commonplace to being a sparkling jewel, and one that is too frequently overlooked, in their long tradition of producing fine musicals.

In 1957, Julie Andrews played the title role in a live performance, but it was the 1960s televised version starring Lesley-Ann Warren that lingers in the memory of most of the contemporary artist between the ages of 35 and 65.

The production came to life in our own neighborhood, as the Skaneateles High School Drama club presented the musical to the public Nov. 3 through 5 at the high school auditorium. The production was a fine attempt and had many moments of sparkle and fairy dust that saw it through from beginning to end.

In the title role of Cinderella, Rachel Scarr was prettily perfect as the young girl, oppressed into servitude by her overbearing stepmother, Chantel LeBlanc, and nasty stepsisters, Anna Stechyschyn and Chloe Warner. Playing off the magnificent backdrops and arrayed in dazzling costumes, the production was a testimony to the simple but poignant fairy tale.

Stephanie Wisniewski demonstrated a surprising maturity in her role as Queen Mayzie, and Allen Jerabeck, as crusty King Maximilian in a foppish black wig, gave solid performance that grounded the production and prevented the musical from becoming too saccharine. Colgan McNeil was perfect in his role of Prince Charming, and LeBlanc had an obviously good time and imbued her character of the Fairy Stepmother both with an airy nonchalance and good natured feisty-ness.

While one couldn’t help wishing that some of the chorus would have tried some makeup to look older, the production was all that could be wished for in terms of earnest attention to the story line. While youth does not generally do a good job of portraying age, the one thing they always do a good job of is playing young love. Scarr and McNeil gave their characters a sense of gentle sweetness that was touching and appropriate.

Congratulations to the chorus for their portrayal of townspeople, ball guests and extras. The choreography was charming and the waltz at the ball once again showed that a man who can dance is a man who can literally sweep any girl off her feet!

Worthy of note was John Buterbaugh as the Herald who lent a roguish air to the stately Herald and AJ Pola as the insistent Chef.

Kudos to the orchestra for bringing to life the music of Richard Rodgers and for giving the musical its form, as well as function. The crew has nothing to worry about in terms of cues being properly called, deftly handed props, and Cinderella’s Coach and Horses were things of beauty gliding across the stage.

The play was marred only by the distressing feedback of the body mics worn by the main characters, questionable in use for an auditorium of that size. Student actors need to depend first on their own voices and learn how to project. Also it is good to note that the chorus had a couple of ‘scene stealers’ who were actually amusing but diverted the attention away from the focus of several scenes.

Cast, crew, teachers and supporters should be proud of this production of “Cinderella,” and of making it possible for so many to enjoy.

B.J. Menter is a freelance writer for Eagle newspaper.




Rating: 2.0/5 (12 votes cast)



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