Mount Si High School – Fall Musical Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

[Guest Post by Emma Parker]

The recent musical production of Cinderella was much anticipated both by those who are regularly connected with the High School drama offerings and the wider, local community.

The last time the High School students put on a production was in the Fall of 2019 with the fabulous Newsies show, and since then, sadly, COVID stopped the planned Dramafest and regular spring play.

The new, high-tech Performing Arts Center (PAC) was the venue for the Cinderella production, the first play to be performed there since it was completed. The PAC is spacious and comfortable for the audience, with excellent acoustics and a balcony to seat additional audience members. The backstage is also a significant improvement for the actors and crew over the older MSHS auditorium.

Live music from the orchestra pit was a real treat and added a wonderful immersive quality to the show. The student musicians and guest pianist did an excellent job adding a rich flavor to the storytelling, and peeking over the edge into the pit was a fascinating diversion for the children in the audience during intermission.

The sets and props were creative, and changing scenes was seamless with the new rigging and equipment. The modern audio equipment meant that the audience could hear each actor and not get distracted with mics cutting out, as had been known in past performances! The tech and backstage crews had their work cut out for them in the new space with the latest technology and equipment, and they ran their parts smoothly and effectively – a testament to the hours spent in preparation and rehearsal.

The actors were very polished due to the significant number of hours invested since the auditions at the start of the semester. April Herrild, Rebecca Woodbury, and Bridget  McCarty facilitated and supported the students, who committed hundreds of hours to produce such an excellent performance over the past months.

Sarah Cruickshank, who played Ella, was charming and did a great job filling the important glass slippers of the role. She interacted effectively with all the other actors and did a great job hitting her notes and cues throughout.  Zack Miller, as Prince Topher, built his character well and portrayed the Prince’s range of emotions throughout the two-act story. His singing was strong, and he held his own with his solos and duets.

Stealing the show was Panka Homorodi as Marie, the mysterious, quirky and ‘crazy’ old lady who turned out to be not only Ella’s fairy godmother but all of ours too! Her voice was on point, and she held the stage when she was doing her solo performance and interacting with Ella, the Prince, his cohorts and even the audience. Keith Batemen had a solid performance as Lord Pinkleton, with a very commanding presence on stage, as did Caleb Couture, who filled the boots of Sebastian with confidence.

Zack Miller, as Prince Topher

Cinderella’s stepmother, played by Morgan Snavley, took the stage with a perfect balance of elegance and humor. Katie Parker and Ivie Baker, who played Cinderella’s stepsisters Gabrielle and Charlotte respectively, showed an incredible range of emotions with entertaining bouts of comedy, calamity and drama. Morgan did an outstanding job of being the mean and emotionally distant mom with the unforgettable snort-laugh! Katie and Ivie each had an opportunity to showcase their strong voice and acting talents with some fun interactions throughout the show.

The ensemble did an excellent job in all the multi-character scenes, and the singing and dancing were well-rehearsed and enjoyable to watch. The featured dancers were impressive and had a couple of different opportunities to showcase their unique talents in each act with flips, lifts and tumbling. Particularly fun was the scene where the mice, fox and raccoon were magically turned into the horsemen and attendants for the magical pumpkin/golden carriage. Ingenious!

Transforming Ella from her ‘Cinders’ rags to ball gown was achieved with a clever multi-purpose gown and fun special effects – a genuine surprise and a treat to watch. Overall, the costumes were a triumph this year; vibrant colors and over-the-top ballgowns paired well with the overall magical aesthetic of the show. Accompanied by the colorful and playful lighting, the visual appeal was stunning. All around, it was a pleasure to watch and enjoyed by the whole audience. I can’t wait for the next productions in the New Year!

Comments

  1. They performed the play with masks on? Ridiculous.

    So much for “the face” being an actor’s instrument.

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