The New London High School’s musical this year is Cinderella.
The cast of this romantic comedy will provide scenes to remember – the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more. Performance dates are Nov. 6-8 at 7 p.m., in the high school auditorium.
Although the story line is the same, this musical score was not used by Disney in the popular animated version of today. Those born in the 20th century may recall songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” and “Impossible/It’s Possible” in this romantic comedy.
The NLHS is presenting the original musical version, written and composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein. This first Cinderella musical was created for television and performed by Julie Andrews in 1957 as a remake starring Leslie Ann Warren in 1967, and a second remake in 1997 starring Brandy, Whitney Houston and Whoopie Goldberg.
Under the musical direction of Lori Flury, patrons at the New London musical will follow the storyline as young talents perform solos. The large chorus is paramount to bringing the story full circle.
Director Lucas Jensen, a former NLHS and Wolf River Community Theatre actor, spent two years in Hollywood at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy or AMDA, and brings his acting career and knowledge to the musical.
“It’s really great to be here again, seeing the students doing their best to remain in character, know their lines, etc.,” Jensen said.
“I am so excited to be playing Cinderella,” said Nicole Goodreau. “I love musical theatre. That will be my major in college, and I’ll be turning it into a career.”
As a girl, the Disney princesses were Goodreau’s favorite playmates. Cinderella was her favorite. She is happy that she is invited to read a Cinderella book during story time at New London’s Public Library.
“It will be fun playing the part for them,” she said.
Cindy Wilfuer, administrative secretary at NLHS, knows a larger-than-life Cinderella. Her niece, Laura Osnes, is Cinderella for the 2013 revival of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Broadway production.
While Wilfeur visited New York to see the show, she received an autograph from her niece. Later, she presented it to NLHS senior Goodreau, who plays Cinderella on the high school stage.
The prince, Blake Spellman agreed this is a good musical that everyone will enjoy.
“I like singing, but acting even more, because of my personality,” Spellman said.
He said the hardest thing for him is to combine all the instructions about being an actor into the character he plays.
Two flighty, funny, and irrepressible stepsisters keep the story moving along.
“Being in this show is great fun, and I get to be really expressive, which I love.” said Erin Wetzel, who is Portia, the first of the stepsisters. “I loved to play dress up when I was a kid and I watched all those princess movies.”
Wetzel shows no fear and is comfortable on stage, with training from the Wolf River Theatrical Troupe (WRTT).
Wetzel is cast with Emelie Roberts, her stepsister, Joy.
“I love playing a part like this, where we can bounce off each other and really be a team. This is the first time I’ve done that,” Roberts said.
Roberts is also a veteran child actor from WRTT, beginning her stage career at the age of six.
Sophomore Iris Renner is Beulah, a brooding, self-involved stepmother.
“I sit and stew while those two aggravate me,” Renner said.
Unlike the Disney rendition of the story, her character is meant to feel sorry for herself, obsessing about the way things could have been.
“This play is different than the Disney version in a lot of ways,” Wetzel said. “Our characters are not mean step-sisters, we’re weird and funny, and a whole bunch of things, but not wicked. People will love me. I mean people will love us.”
Tickets can be purchased at Festival Foods, New London Chamber of Commerce, New London High School office, New London School District office, or from any cast member. General admission seats are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+), and $7 for children/students. Friday is Family Night and all seats are $7. This audience is encouraged to dress up as characters in the play.