The popular, timeless classic of “Cinderella” was brought to life on the stage this past weekend. Director of Annual Giving and Constituent Relations Laura Lang directed “Cinderella” with the help of Guidance Counselor Larry Hensley and Associate Director of Enrollment Kim Brueggemann. The musical was performed six times between March 1 and March 4.
According to Lang, the reasons for picking “Cinderella” as the spring musical revolved around the content and fitting it to students’ talents.
“I read a lot of scripts and try to choose shows that fit the talents of the particular students we have each year. Plus, we always need to find shows that are fun, have lots of music and dancing, and have a big cast and chorus,” Lang said.
What was slightly different about this musical was the fact that cuts were made in the audition process.
“We decided to make cuts because we want to increase the quality of our shows. We want to attract the students who are talented and share the same passion for performing that the three of us [Hensley, Brueggemann, and Lang] have. Just like any sports team that makes cuts, we needed to start cutting back on quantity in order to improve our quality,” Lang said.
Some people may have expected the Disney version of “Cinderella,” but Lang decided on the 1997 movie version starring Brandy Norwood as Cinderella.
“It’s more modern and funny than the original. We like funny,” Lang said.
“Our students have been practicing since Jan. 3. It’s very difficult to keep up the enthusiasm and energy. There comes a point where they just need a real audience. The technical side of shows is always a challenge as well. We are lucky to have Mr. Ed Lake, a past parent, who has organized a student crew, but there are always glitches with sound, lighting, special effects. Somehow though, it always comes together,” Lang said.
Sophomore Erin Huffer, who played the stepsister Joy, cannot agree more with Lang. “We all worked so hard for 8 weeks straight and the overall product was amazing,“ Huffer said. The cast has come together despite challenges. “We all get along and I feel like we’ve all become one big happy family. This experience is something that I will never forget and I hope to have more experiences like this in the future,” Huffer said.
Senior Stephanie Meadowcroft, who played Cinderella, agrees with the positive sentiments. “I’m really happy with how it’s come together. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to play a lead in the last JC show of my senior year and I’ve made so many friends this past year doing the plays and I’m glad that I’ve decided to do them,” Meadowcroft said.
One memorable moment for Lang was seeing senior Chris O’Neill participate in the musicals for the first time, playing the lead role of the Prince. “This is my twenty-first show directing here at JC. Ms. B., Mr. Hensley and I have such a great time. This year though, I was so impressed that senior Chris O’Neill auditioned. He took a leap of faith his senior year and stepped outside of his comfort zone. And boy, he is a fabulous prince! I couldn’t see anyone else in the part,” Lang said.
“I thought Chris and Stephanie did really well as the leads. The show overall was really great,” senior Talia Kahoe said.
“I’m really just grateful that I was given this opportunity to be a part of something as prestigious as our Theater Department and in such a prominent role. I was nervous about having so much responsibility with so little experience, but everyone involved was so welcoming and supportive that they made it pretty easy for me to assimilate into a different part of JC than I was used to,” O’Neill said.
Freshman Emma Kleinberg was surprised that she herself landed the lead as fairy godmother. “It was an honor to me to be cast as the fairy godmother because I never thought in a million years I would get a lead as a freshman,” Kleinberg said. Kleinberg also appreciated the Tea held for young audience members after the afternoon show on Saturday. “It [the show] has made me realize that the theatre is not just for our enjoyment or experiences but also for the audiences as well. Seeing the children at the tea asking for pictures and autographs opened my eyes to the fact that the theatre makes others happy as well,” Kleinberg said.
Sophomore Lindsey McCumber has played leads before, and though her role as the Stepmother was different from her previous roles, she still thought it was just as enjoyable.
“I loved playing Stepmother, especially after playing the exact opposite – Betty – in the fall. Stepmother has such a great personality as well as freedom regarding her voice, movement…Being the villain of a show has its downsides too though, since my goal is to get the audience to hate me. All in all, it’s been a great show.”
“I thought it went really well. I enjoyed it,” Rebecca Driver.
Grace Kim is the Online Chief of The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.