A beautiful carriage, a grand staircase and a large working clock -- a clock that inches toward midnight and the end of a magical evening arranged by a fairy godmother -- are all part of the magical fun for the whole family in "Cinderella," the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that opens Thursday [FEB. 19] at East Central University.
Cinderella's ill-tempered stepmother and step-sisters point accusing fingers at Amanda Tarver and Brittany Trail (far right), the East Central University students who will alternate the title role in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." Kim Wren (from left) is the stepmother and Casey Taylor and Kire Stenson play the stepsisters. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday [FEB. 19-20] and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday [FEB. 21-22] in the Dorothy Summers Theatre. Saturday is Kids' Day. Youngsters who wear prince or princess costumes will receive a souvenir and have a chance to purchase photos made with cast members.
The cast and crew are assembling as much magic as they can for the performances at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday [FEB. 19-20] and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday [FEB. 21-22] in the Dorothy Summers Theatre, said Patrick Sweet, instructor of communication and director of ECU's Music Theatre.
Youngsters up to age 12 who wear prince or princess costumes on Saturday [FEB. 21], Kids' Day, will receive souvenir crowns. They also can purchase prince and princess photographs of themselves with cast members. The photographs will begin at 12:30 p.m.
"We hope to see a lot of little princes and princesses on Saturday," Sweet said.
He said the production is a "book musical extravaganza" with its many songs that enhance the fairy tale story, nearly 100 costumes and a cast of 38, including ECU, home school and high school students, several community members and a faculty member.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children, senior citizens and non-ECU students. They can be purchased in the Bursar's Office in Room 108 of the Administration Building, or at the box office. Admission is free for ECU students, faculty and staff. The doors will open one hour before the curtain and there will be no reserved seating.
Brittany Trail, a junior from Ada, and Amanda Tarver, a senior from Chandler, Ariz., will play Cinderella in alternate shows. Jomain McKenzie, a junior from Clarendon, Jamaica, will portray the Prince.
"This show has more than one love story," Sweet said. It also shows the King (Ryan Corley, Shawnee sophomore) and the Queen (Natalie May, Prague sophomore) as being very real and human. Every entity is featured. The step-sisters have their heightened moments -- everyone has his '15 minutes of fame.'"
The step-mother will be played by Kim Wren, an Ada junior. Moore junior Casey Taylor and Kire Stenson, a senior at Ada High School, will be Cinderella's step-sisters.
Becky Morrison, an ECU adjunct instructor in the Communication Department, will play the fairy godmother who transforms Cinderella from a servant for her ill-tempered step-family into a beautifully gowned young lady, as well as several mice and a pumpkin into footmen and a glittering carriage.
Sweet is accustomed to the magic of Cinderella. He grew up in Orlando, Fla., and worked at Walt Disney World during summers and holiday seasons. He was one of Cinderella's attendants, played Goofy and Alvin the Albatross from "The Rescuers," and was in the famed Electrical Light Parade.
"I've seen that fantasy world. The Cinderella Castle was my second home," he said.
That's not why he chose "Cinderella" for his first production at ECU, however. He said he made the choice both to help develop a full Music Theatre program at ECU and because of all the talent that was already available at ECU and in the community.
"This was a perfect fit for both the program and the community," he said. "ECU is celebrating 100 years and opening a new fine arts center in 2009."
The royal family poses with both Cinderellas in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that will run Thursday through Sunday [FEB. 19-22] in East Central University's Dorothy Summers Theatre. "Cinderella" will have two actors alternating in the title role, Brittany Trail (left) of Ada and Amanda Tarver of Chandler, Ariz. (third from left). In between is the Prince, played by Jomain McKenzie of Clarendon, Jamaica; the Queen, Natalie May of Prague; and the King, Ryan Corley of Shawnee. Tickets are available in the Bursar's Office on the ECU campus.
The musical is one of ECU's Centennial events.
"The show also has developed into a tribute to the late Dorothy Summers who guided the theatre program at ECU for many years and to her predecessors and successors," he added. "This show will honor her work and the work of her successors, including Dr. Delma Hall and those currently serving in speech and theatre at ECU."
"Cinderella" probably is the last ECU musical in the Dorothy Summers Theatre since the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center is nearing completion.
Other cast members and their roles are Brandon Blankenship, Ada freshman, the herald; Nick Geisler, Little Axe junior, chef; Chris Geisler, Little Axe senior, steward; Travis Henry, Stratford junior, coachman; Jonathan Moore, Paoli freshman, footman; Roy Harris, Little Axe freshman, and Caleb Bonar, Ada High School sophomore, guards; and Matt Sweatt, Ada sophomore, minister.
Townspeople and chorus members include Quinton Roberts, Ardmore senior; Sherri Scott, Ada senior; Brooke Haygood, Norman senior; Randi Hall, Ada junior; Lynette Christy, Ada sophomore; Leah Creason, Beggs freshman; Lesly Walker, Mason junior; Lauren Durbin, Atoka sophomore; Bailey Freeman, Ada; Lacee Elliott, Davis freshman; and Amy Smith, Ada. High school and home school students are Zachariah Smith, Elijah Smith, Rose Smith, Lauren Meyer and Mason Gibson, all of Ada; and Isaiah Rudolph, Union Valley.
The dancing court includes Roy Harris; Jana Cawthon and Kelsey Creed, Ada sophomores; Kendra Camplain, Ringling freshman; and high school students Erica Poe, Ada, and Lorena Wilkinson, Holdenville.
The technical crew includes Lauren Hathcoat, Ada sophomore, stage manager; Katie Wilson, Oklahoma City senior; Jamie Mata, Harlingen, Texas, junior; Anthony Bowie, Spencer junior; and Chris Hicks, Allen.
Sherri Scott is the show's assistant director and Brooke Haygood is assistant chorus master.
The orchestra will be conducted by band director Allen Correll. Dr. Victoria Dansby is choreographer and Theo Peshehonoff is technical director. Dallas Coplin and Dr. Delma Hall are coordinating costumes. Dr. Richard Groetzinger is also assisting with the show.
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