Cinderella Review: A Princess Like No Other

Cinderella: when you hear the name, you automatically think of a blonde girl in a blue dress that lost her shoe at midnight. But in this rendition of the time-old tale, Cinderella isn’t blonde and is a little more aware of the society she resides in.

From Feb. 2 through Feb. 4, Studio VII put on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s adaptation of the fairytale as a musical. The musical had beloved songs from Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella including, “In My Own Little Corner” and “Impossible.” With a live orchestra formed by other fine arts students, the performance was a huge success. Almost every show sold out completely.

I was in attendance at the last show, feeling excited and nervous. My siblings and I were almost late for our show. But despite our tardiness, we made it in time, and the next thing we knew, the lights dimmed, and the orchestra began to warm up.

When I heard about the musical happening, I knew that I had to attend. For a few months, I listened and watched my friends get nervous with auditions for roles and spots in the orchestra. My friends endured practices upon practices, and I knew that their hard work would all pay off. Melania Vasquez, one of my good friends, rode out her nerves as the deadlines got closer. Suddenly I blinked, and it was the week of the show.

The set was stunning, added to the beauty of the story, and emphasized scenes in the best way. It didn’t take away from the story at all. Parts of the set were rented, such as the stairs, the portals on the sides of the stage (the analog clock parts), and the carriage. Many other parts of the set were made by volunteers from theater classes and the production crew. My younger sister, being one of those students, took pride in her contribution to the stage and was practically bragging about which parts she helped with before the show started. Hours after school and evenings were spent on the set, and the time paid off.  

Elizabeth Tait, the assistant choir director, took on the role of music director for this production. She guided members of the orchestra and band through their live performances alongside the theater and choir students on stage. Tait did an excellent job with the pit orchestra and the singing on stage.

When Vasquez began mentioning the show in English class, she was thrilled by the idea of landing the role of Cinderella. Once the cast was announced, she was beaming since she landed the role of Cinderella that she had wanted. Her dedication to the show was obvious in her performance. On stage, she gleamed brighter than any star. From expressions to singing, she nailed every second of her performance. I was so captivated by her that I was saddened when the show ended.

Bob Beathard is one of the best actors in school productions I have ever seen. His devotion to his art beams on stage and enthralled audiences throughout his years with Studio VII. Watching his performance in this production transported me to a magical world. His character as the prince was refreshing. We usually expect the thick-headed and mostly ignorant prince during fairy tales, but his character was very self-aware and open-minded, which I enjoyed immensely. 

Many of the other actors gave breathtaking performances as well. Kylie Hill played the curious and ditzy step-sister, Charlotte. Laughter consistently erupted throughout the audience whenever her character barely connected two dots. Performing a musical while dancing seems difficult, but performing while in the air is astonishing. Ana Arellano’s performance as Marie was hilarious and magical. She truly enraptured the audience as the fairy godmother and made us laugh when all we saw was the crazy lady of the village. Anthony Laya is another actor that captivated the audience as Jean-Michel. Not only was Jean-Michel Gabrielles’ lover, but he was a very charismatic character. He struggled to read and approach Gabrielle but was a light in the village faced with a crisis with his bravery to try and fix the injustices. 

Worries about the dancing, especially the lifts, flew through my mind, but the boys pulled through and did exceptionally well. The most shocking thing to me was the mice-to-horses scene. I didn’t expect the horses to be performed by actual people after seeing the wooden horse in the first couple of scenes, but it was a fun change of pace. This was a lovely show and one of the best I had ever seen. I anticipate future Studio VII performances for years to come!