Dreams come true in Draper Historic Theatre’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’Mar 07, 2023 04:16PM ● By Katherine Weinstein
Chloe Coleman, Merci Hase and Kylie Hallett play Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and stepsisters in the Draper Historic Theatre production of “Cinderella: The Enchanted Edition.” (Photo courtesy of Draper Historic Theatre)
Draper Historic Theatre will present a colorful new production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s classic musical, “Cinderella,” March 10-25. Subtitled “The Enchanted Edition,” the production has an interesting history.
In 1957, Broadway composers Rodgers and Hammerstein created a musical version of “Cinderella” for the relatively new medium of television. Over 100 million Americans tuned in to CBS to watch the show which starred Julie Andrews. Forty years later, a new TV version of the musical, starring sitcom star Brandy with Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother, updated the script by depicting a Cinderella who sets out to make her own dreams come true.
Director and choreographer Mindy Eckroth explained that the Draper Historic Theatre production is closest to that 1997 version. “The story lines are very similar,” she said. “I love Cinderella’s story arc. It’s Cinderella believing in herself that makes the magic happen.”
Camryn Finch, one of the actors playing the title role, said, “It has been really fun to understand Cinderella as a character better. It isn’t until Cinderella determines that she will go to the ball herself that the fairy godmother makes it happen.”
“One of the themes is about making your own destiny,” said Ava Magalei, who also plays Cinderella. “She takes control of her own life and challenges the audience to go out there and do that in their own lives.”
Cinderella is not the only character in the show to be more fully-realized than in versions of the story told in fairy tale books. The wicked stepmother and her daughters have more lines and songs in this production.
As the lead roles are double-cast, Jessica Duncan and Merci Hase both play the wicked stepmother in different performances. “We get to be the evilness of it all!” Duncan exclaimed. The character has comical scenes when interacting with her daughters. However, “she is really mean with Cinderella,” Hase said. The role is something new and different for her. “I am so excited to play the villain!” she added.
Both actors spoke of their journeys with the role and trying to uncover “where her nastiness comes from.” There is perhaps more to the wicked stepmother than meets the eye in this production. “She even has a love interest in the prince’s steward,” Duncan said.
As the wicked stepsisters, Alyssa Edwards and Makayla Porter, have names—Grace and Joy. “In this version we are named the opposite of our personalities,” Porter said.
“We are milking the comedy and get to be over-the-top obnoxious,” Edwards said.
“They have made each character well rounded. It’s so exciting to see all of it come together,” Porter said. “I like being part of the magic. They want this to be a magical experience for everyone in the theater.”
A major part of the theatrical magic in “Cinderella” is the costumes. “We have all the fairy tale vibes,” Eckroth said. The costumes, especially the ball gowns, are in vibrant colors and beautiful fabrics. For example, costume designer Ashley North and her team have created a glittering “transformation dress” for the scene in which the fairy godmother turns Cinderella’s ruined gown into something spectacular. The metamorphosis will happen right in front of the audience.
“Impossible things can happen,” said Music Director Katie Davis, describing the themes of the show. She alluded to the lyrics in one of the songs, “There Is Music in You.” “Anyone who is feeling like their dreams are unattainable, come watch the show and realize that they can come true,” she said.
“It’s about being brave, believing that impossible things can happen every day,” Eckroth said. “Big things are possible.”
Edwards described the show as “a light way to get away and just enjoy.”
“There’s a happily ever after,” Porter added. “Everyone can use a little extra magic in their lives. And a little more grace and joy.”
Draper Historic Theatre presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella: The Enchanted Edition” March 10-25. Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. The theatre is located at 12366 S. 900 East. For tickets visit www.drapertheatre.org.