Arts & Entertainment
A fresh take on an old favorite
Cinderella returns to the WMPAC stage for a new generation
By Gus Hammond EBS CONTRIBUTOR
This isn’t Lone Peak High School’s first Cinderella. But when the curtains at Warren Miller Performing Arts Center open at 6:30 on April 5 and 6, audiences who saw the debut of Cinderella in 2014 will be reminded of how far the enterprise has come in just shy of a decade.
Nine years ago, Cinderella was the first Lone Peak High School musical and just barely had enough kids to cast the show. Producer Barbara Rowley, who could not stress enough how far these shows have come, remembers choosing the title for this reason. Back then, the pool of male thespians totaled four—and she knew all their mothers. But that was enough to put on the show.
These days LPHS musicals regularly draw three times or more as many cast members (30 is a normal cast size) and the shows sell out in a hurry. This year’s show—the newest of the five licensable titles in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Cindy franchise—has a different take on the stories and morals behind Cinderella. It’s a much more modern version than the classic Cinderella show LPHS presented in 2014. Rowley was particularly excited about the contemporary nature of the story.
“There is a nice stepsister and a socialist radical, who is quite a comic character. There is also an acknowledgment that the Prince is not always such a prince. He’s not strong and he’s not happy to have inherited his role,” she said.
And while Rowley presented the first Cinderella because it was the only musical she could find that she could cast, she picked this new version because of the modern story changes with the still classic R&H tunes.
“I’m excited about this show because it’s going to showcase a lot of strong male talent, not unlike Oklahoma,” Rowley said. “It seems to be something Rodgers and Hammerstein did, giving really strong, powerful male leads, and we have really great high school leads who can do that, so that’s exciting.”
LPHS productions have grown in more ways than just drawing more actors to audition. The number of shows the LPHS players put on each year has doubled since 2014. Just three months ago, three sold out audiences raved at the holiday production of Elf.
This year 11 male students auditioned for the show’s two performances. The famous Prince Topher role went to Max Romney (Thursday night) and Matthew Jennings (Wednesday night).
Romney, who’s not only the star of the basketball team but also a perennial star on the stage is enthusiastic about his last high school performance.
“I think that it is going to be a good show. It’s a classic show with a new funny script. It’s got some fun topics, some good humor, and some interesting dance scenes,” Romney said.
Romney has been a part of theater for as long as he’s been in school, starting with the summer Big Sky Broadway Junior and Big Sky Broadway shows and now four years of high school musicals.
Romney is one of many long-term dedicated seniors on the stage. This will also be the last show for Ella Henslee, Colter Marino, Felix Jacobs, Jessie Bough, Emily Graham and this reporter. Because of the amount of talent (and number of cast members) the show is completely double cast with different students in lead roles on Wednesday and Thursday night.
“I think Cinderella’s a really great show. It’s a big show with lots of music, which will be fun. I think the cast has worked really hard, and I think the hard work will pay off,” Graham said.
The curtains will open at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 5 and Thursday, April 6. Tickets are available at warrenmillerpac.org and pre-purchase is advised. The show is wonderful for all ages.