With the help of a little magic and a lot of hard work, the Sister Ambrose Reggio Gym transformed from a basketball court into faraway kingdom as Dominican presented Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
In the play Cinderella with junior Camryn Wisniewski in the title role, Ella lives with her step-mother and step-sisters. Her step-mother, Madame – played by junior Madison Lewis – and her step-sisters – played by seniors Dana Heck and Annalyse Nelson – treat Ella like a servant. However, things start to change for Ella after a chance encounter with Prince Topher. In the end Cinderella and Prince Topher fall in love and are married, just like the fairy tale.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is based on the Cinderella fairy tale but adds a modern twist. These twists include an election for a prime minister and the addition of a revolutionary in the story line.
The cast for Cinderella ranged from eight graders to seniors and had all levels of play experience. “Playing Cinderella was one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had in all of my years of acting. I caught myself beginning to act like the character even off-stage,” said Wisniewski.
This year’s cast consisted of 33 Dominican students and 5 boys from other local schools. Mrs. Rosalie Abadie, director, and Mrs. Marcia Peyton (‘78), assistant director, led the cast. Cinderella marked their 23rd year of directing the spring musicals at Dominican.
According to Mrs. Peyton, putting on a musical “takes a village.” A production like Cinderella has many components, and students have a large role. Students made up both the crew and orchestra. Several DHS students worked as choreographers, as well. This year, three student choreographers helped Mrs. Kelsey Vogt Napier, choreographer, with the exciting dance numbers. They were junior Cappy Elvir and sophomore Bryce Leonhard, who both had featured roles in the ensemble, and Nelson, who played Ella’s step-sister, Charlotte.
Cinderella was one part of the annual Fine Arts Festival held in April. Alumnae Hall was decked out in artwork courtesy of students in Art II and III. Visitors enjoyed the paintings, sketches and multi-media works of art in Alumnae Hall as well as the artistic scenery on stage. .
The stage became a magical kingdom, thanks to the crew. The crew is the “unseen force behind the production,” said Ms. Angelle Caffery, scenery and stage crew director. They create the sets that form scenes and transform the SARG.
Their job does not end with the sets; it also extends to helping run the show. They help with backstage business, scene changes and lighting. From the painters to the light board operators, the crew helps create the mood and atmosphere that allows the actors to perform their best. While the crew creates the look of the stage, the orchestra play the music that makes Cinderella come alive.
The live orchestra that performs the score of Cinderella is under the direction of Ms. Brenda Castillo, musical director. Making up the live orchestra are students from Dominican as well as other local schools. Dominican is one of the only local high schools to have a live orchestra in their performances. “Having a live orchestra helps to make the play more realistic and less robotic,” said Ms. Castillo. “The orchestra reacts to the performance as it happens to create individual ‘moments’.”
Wisniewski agrees that the live orchestra creates a symbiotic relationship. “Without the talents of every single person involved, this show wouldn’t have been possible,” she said.
By: Paige Dawson