Musical will go public about same time as director’s baby
LYNDEN — An updated version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Cinderella” is presented by Lynden Christian High School students starting Jan. 23.
Performances are at 7 p.m. Jan. 23, 24, 25 and 28, and Feb. 1, and also at 1 p.m. on Feb. 1.
Directing is Allison Ross, now a veteran of dramatic productions at LCHS, but she is also close to her pregnancy due date. And so with rehearsals now in a final week, others are ready to step in to get the big production through to actual performances.
Ross said the show was updated in 2013 from its original Broadway production. Audience members can expect to see actual costume changes occur on stage.
“The original Cinderella was written for TV,” Ross said. “A lot of the magic you see is them cutting away from the camera and they cut back to her new dress and things like that. In this version, all of those transformations happen on stage. There’s a number of dress transformations where the actor stays put on stage, spins around and is in a new costume.”
Being no stranger to running a production at LC, Ross said she’s looking forward to seeing how far the students have come since the start.
“My educator heart is just always so excited to see how these kids have grown, especially this senior class,” she said. “This is my first class I’ve seen through four years of productions and I’m so proud of them to see how much they’ve grown both in their performance skills, but also as humans.”
This is publicity from broadway.com: “The smart and beautiful young Ella lives in the care of her wicked, self-absorbed stepmother Madame and her two daughters, Charlotte and Gabrielle. Ella’s only friends in the world are the animals in the woods, ‘crazy Marie’ and the revolutionary student Jean-Michel. Meanwhile in another part of the kingdom, Prince Topher is trying to find himself and learn his place in the kingdom. When his scheming advisor Sebastian suggests throwing a ball so the Prince can meet potential brides, Ella and Topher’s different worlds come together. Expect the unexpected in this clever retelling of the beloved fairytale.”
It is possible to buy tickets using this weblink: www.showtix4u.com/events/lyndenchristian.
Faith Schmitt, a senior, is in the Cinderella role. “It’s really a dream come true,” she said of having the lead in one of LCHS’s drama productions. Schmitt has been in every play and musical offered during her high school years.
The sets and costuming for a cast of 44 — including a “magical change” at one point in the musical — are extensive, and there is an additional stage crew of 21 plus about 15 adults and youth in the orchestra pit.
Faith’s dad, Josh Schmitt, has been involved in set construction for at least eight years.
This will be a version of “Cinderella” as the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic was adapted in 2013 — to be a little more current and “beyond the surface level,” said Schmitt, and she appreciates that.
Josiah Vander Griend is opposite Faith in the role of Prince Topher. His mother is the chief choreographer, and both parents will be ready to co-direct actual productions if director Ross must give her attention to childbirth instead.
This production will again be visited by professionals from Fifth Avenue Theatre of Seattle, as LCHS has been involved in this evaluation program for a number of years, along with high schools throughout the state.
“There’s just so many great ensemble numbers and all of this magic that’s happening,” Ross said. “It’s a fun show and the kids are having a great time with it.”