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Case Middle School students staging ‘G2K Cinderella’

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Rebecca A. Rose had some explaining to do before “Cinderella” was prepared for the stage this week at Watertown High School.

“We had kids lining up to play the mice — Jaq and Gus,” Mrs. Rose said. “We had to make them quickly understand that we have mice that turn into horses for the carriage, but they do not sing and they do not sew Cinderella’s dress.”

The students at Case Middle School may have been more familiar with the Disney version of “Cinderella” and related mice antics. But they now have discovered the version by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, which will be staged for four shows at the WHS auditorium today, Friday and Saturday.

“It’s not Disney, and most importantly, the stepmother and stepfamily are not evil,” Mrs. Rose said. “They’re just self-absorbed.”

“Cinderella,” with music by Mr. Rodgers and book and lyrics by Mr. Hammerstein, was the duo’s only television musical. It premiered on CBS in 1957 starring Julie Andrews and became a national event, with an estimated 60 percent of the country tuning in. It was performed live and broadcast in color and became the most-viewed TV show to date. A television version was made in 1997 starring Brandy Norwood.

The story is back on Broadway. “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” opened in March. The new production mixes songs from the duo’s back catalog along with tunes they wrote for the original 1957 TV version.

“This is old school style of stand and deliver the music,” Mrs. Rose said. “The music comes first. It’s one of those traditional shows like ‘Oklahoma!’ from the golden era of musicals.”

Students at Case Middle School will stage the “G2K Cinderella” version. The G2K (“Getting to Know”) script has been condensed and the plot has been slightly altered to highlight some important lessons.

Mrs. Rose decided to do two productions this year with her students; a practice she hopes to continue. Last fall, she and Emily Kimbo co-directed “Hooray for Hollywood! A Film Music Revue.”

“It’s a neat way of getting to know the kids, know what they can do and know that they have the talent level for what we needed to do with the show,” Mrs. Rose said. “The kids love performing and being together.”

Mrs. Rose and her co-director for “Cinderella,” Emily Kimbro, developed two sets of leads. “Due to the overwhelming talent we had from our fall show, we have a seventh grade set of leads and an eighth grade set of leads,” she said.

Songs in the show include “In My Own Little Corner,” “The Prince is Giving a Ball” and “A Lovely Night.”

“People will come out singing — there’s no question about it,” Mrs. Rose said.

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The cast list for the top roles:

Seventh graders: Jahna Mott as Cinderella, Jacob Medley as the prince, Morgan Ortega as the stepmother, Brooke Peters as Portia, Hannah Ryan Perez as Joy, Ani Hocutt and Maria Aldrich as the godmother.

Eighth graders: Anna Castilleja as Cinderella, Caleb Snell as the prince, Madison P. McCown as the stepmother, Sarah Lovely as Portia, Sarah Coon as Joy and Cece Brown as the godmother.

the details
WHAT: Music students at Case Middle School present “Cinderella.”
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. today and Friday, and 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Watertown High School Auditorium, 1335 Washington St.
COST: Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Advance tickets are available at Pine Cleaners, 237 Franklin St.
OF NOTE: The 1 p.m. matinee Saturday is a special “princess production.” Children are invited to come dressed as a princess and dance in a designated area.
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