by Classical Academy
Classical Academy Musical Theatre is a gem in the North County, led by Director Lori Grimes and Assistant Director Ragan Grimes. Both do a wonderful job directing young performers (Grades 6th8th) in Rodgers and Hammerstein's timeless classic, Cinderella.
Cinderella is based on a folk tale and most of us grew up watching or reading about the over-worked young Ella, the wicked stepmother and shrewd stepsisters, and Prince Charming. Therefore I will not go into detail about the story.
One of my favorite actresses, Julie Andrews, played the role of Cinderella in a televised version in 1957. Since then, there have been other films made such as the 1997 version with Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother. Recently, we were introduced to an aesthetically beautiful version on film with Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother and Lily James as Cinderella.
As much as I love film, sometimes nothing beats live theatre, where anything is possible. Principal and supporting roles were double cast in Lori Grimes' production. Our title role was played by Madeline Edwards and Merinda Gillette. Miss Edwards was the epitome of a Disney Princess, practically floating on stage. She was the Cinderella you would find if you were at Disneyland. Miss Gillette was just as sweet and charming with a more earthy flavor; both delivered a lovely vocal for “In My Own Little Corner.”
Our charming Princes were Luke Behrendt and Eric Trickey. Their rendition of “10 minutes Ago” was engaging. Rachel Warner and Gwyneth Kuwazaki played their role of the regal queen commendably. Stephen Franco and Connor McFerran also did well as the King. Other roles were Ben Pancarik as Lionel and Espen Jacobsen and Mason Pillsbury as the Herald.
Our villainous stepmother is played by Kiara Terrel and Andie Radslidd, who pulled off the maturity and devilish-ness required for the role. Minerva (Sophia Rideout and Rheigan McCarthy) and Drizella (Elliana Geffeney and Kayla Tison) all had great chemistry on stage and played well off of each other. “The Stepsister's Lament” was light and full of fun. Miss Geffeney's and Miss Tison's laugh to “woo” the Prince was hilarious!
Of course where would we all be at this point without our Fairy Godmother? Played by 12-year-old Tori Hitchcock and 13-year-old Hope Draper. Jessie Moore was our narrator and a true standout. Miss Moore exuded grace and elegance onstage and it is no wonder why she was also cast as a swing.
Rounding out the cast was a great ensemble. The Mouse Ensemble led Lucy la Mouse (Jasmine Broyles, Sarah Broide), Jaq/Jaque la Mouse (Amanda Brown, Matthew Miller), Perla la Mouse (Liliana Anguiano, Naomi Witmondt) and Gus la Mouse (Seth Gist, Ben Broide) were all too adorable, especially in scenes with Cinderella.
The set was whimsical and straight from a story book and my favorite prop was the photos of the Stepmother and stepsisters on the wall above the fireplace. A nice touch. The waltz choreography impressive and the level high for the age range.
Lori Grimes and company will produce Peter Pan in the Spring. I am sure it will be very entertaining.
D. Jacqueline Young
~ Cast ~
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Carriage Cast / Slipper Cast
Director: Lori Grimes
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