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 Cinderellas 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.
Its not Disney, and most importantly, the stepmother and stepfamily are not evil, Mrs. Rose said. Theyre just self-absorbed.
Cinderella, with music by Mr. Rodgers and book and lyrics by Mr. Hammerstein, was the duos 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 Hammersteins Cinderella opened in March. The new production mixes songs from the duos 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. Its 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.
Its 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 theres 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.