Park Avenue Players perform a classic

Sasha Kvitsinski, Entertainment Editor

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On Friday, March 17, the Park Avenue Players held the opening night of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella in the Artists Theatre. The musical will run until April 2.

“This specific version is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the same gentlemen who wrote many other well-known musicals, including Oklahoma and The Sound of Music. This isn’t Disney’s Cinderella; rather than relying on magic, the characters in this adaptation have to take matters into their own hands,” said drama teacher Alexis Karol.  “It’s a more realistic version of the story.”

The musical was originally created as a television movie but has been re-written as a live-action theatre piece. The show focuses more on the subject of realizing one’s own capabilities and less on the supernatural aspects.

“We held auditions in December, and in January we started rehearsals. Not everyone was  called every day; it just depended on what we were working on,” said Karol.

The cast has met for rehearsal Monday through Thursday from 6-9 p.m. and every Sunday from 1-4 p.m. As opening night drew nearer, cast members were expected to stay at rehearsals as late as 9:30 p.m. to make sure everything was perfect.

“The rehearsal process has been great so far. We have a really big cast this year, and they are a hardworking, fun group of students. We take lots of time to prepare; our goal is to make sure everyone is confident when they go up on stage, and that requires a lot of focus and a lot of hard work on the part of the actors,” said Karol.

The main goal is not only to prepare the actors and give them a taste of live theatre, but also to give the audience a show they will never forget. The actual show runs about 90 minutes, and including intermission, the night lasts about 2 hours.

“Our directors are so supportive and hilarious—our director and choreographer Paul Nygro always plays the part of whoever is absent, and it’s so funny! I’ve seen him act like anything from a stepsister to a mouse,” said senior Ellie Glade, who plays Cinderella.

Similarly to last year’s musical Once Upon a Mattress, Karol has called in professional assistance to help her make sure the show is great. Paul Nygro was the lead choreographer last year and is both the director and choreographer of this year’s show.

“We began the rehearsal process learning the vocals. This includes the large ensemble numbers as well as solos and duets. You can’t begin staging a musical without knowing the music. That would be like being up in the air, piloting an airplane, without taking any flying lessons. We spent the first few weeks focused on vocal rehearsals. Now that the show is staged, we have to go back and brush up those vocals,” said chorus teacher and music director Roxanna Ward.

The base of every musical is the musical numbers, and the vocals are perhaps the most important. Ward has been working with the students in musicals for the past 14 years.

“We are also holding what we are calling ‘Royal Parties,’ essentially prince and princess parties for kids up to 3rd grade. They’re a fundraiser for the booster organization, and I think they’ll be really fun events,” said Karol.

As an extension of the show, these Royal Parties will be held on March 25 and April 1. Creating a fun event for kids, cast members of Cinderella will dress up in costumes as different princes and princesses, and different activities will be held for the kids.

“Cinderella has been one of my favorite shows I’ve ever been in. I have had such a great experience working with the cast and directors, and I feel like I always come home from rehearsal with a huge grin. I have also grown closer to the cast throughout this process, and I’ve loved meeting so many new people. Being in a play is seriously the best way to feel unified and grow close to people—I feel like we’re all family,” said Glade.

While Glade plays Cinderella, senior Hunter Mills is her counterpart, Prince Christopher.

“Cinderella has been such a blast, and it’s been so fun working with all my friends,” said Mills. “Definitely go check out the show!”

The show will continue its run on March 24, 25 and 26 and have additional shows on March 31, April 1 and 2. Tickets for students are $10 and $15 for adults.

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Park Avenue Players perform a classic