Central Community Theatre staging 'Cinderella'

That will be Central Community Theatre’s third performance in its run of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “Cinderella,” which opens on Wednesday, June 25.

“We’ll have two performances on Friday, and the first one will be at 10 o’clock in the morning,” says director Claire Clinkingbeard. “That one will be for the kids. We’re encouraging everyone to dress up, and those who do will receive a special gift.”

The young princesses and princes can have a photograph taken with Cinderella, who will then lead them in a parade through the theater’s aisles.

“This will be a great time for kids, because they’ll have lots of energy,” Clinkingbeard says.

For those who can’t come Friday morning, there are three other performances.

The story is one we all know: Cinderella is forced into servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-absorbed stepsisters. She dreams of a better life. Her fairy godmother magically transforms her into a princess, and she attends the palace ball. There she falls in love with her prince. But there is a catch: she must be home by midnight, when she turns back into a servant.

So, she retreats, leaving behind only a glass slipper.

And, well, you know the rest.

“We’ve been performing junior musicals in the last few years, and some of our cast members have asked to do a full musical,” Clinkingbeard says. “We thought the Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘Cinderella’ fit our cast. We’ve also staged two casts for this show.”

Which means there are two Cinderellas, two stepmothers and two sets of stepsisters.

“We’ve done this with our past few shows, and it works out well,” Clinkingbeard continues. “It gives our cast members a chance to play different roles. They might have a leading role with one cast and a supporting role in the other. It gives them a chance to learn more than one part, and it gives us understudies for each cast.”

Some 66 youngsters in kindergarten through the 12th grade make up both casts, and playing Cinderella are Alice Way and Meghann Sullivan.

Way, 16, will be a junior at Baton Rouge High Magnet School in the fall, and the 15-year-old Sullivan will be a sophomore at Central High School.

Both are Central Community Theatre veterans, and they approach the role differently.

“Cinderella is trying to avoid her problems,” May says. “Everything is a dream for her. She’s in denial. That’s the way I approach her.”

“For me, she stays with her stepmother because that would have made her father happy,” Sullivan says. “She’s uplifting, and she tries to make everyone around her happy.”

Each character study plays differently on stage.

“If you come to the play on different nights, you’ll see a different show,” Clinkingbeard says.

The two Cinderellas say they share at least one characteristic with the fairytale princess.

“I daydream as much as Cinderella,” May says.

“I’m a daydreamer, too,” Sullivan adds, laughing.

But isn’t that what “Cinderella” is all about? Daring to dream?

And dreams will come true when Cinderella steps on stage in the Manship Theatre.