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Arts and Entertainment

Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" Comes to Life Onstage at Logan-Rogersville High School

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(Sheet music image courtesy Library of Congress)
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It started as a musical written especially for television, premiering in March 1957 on CBS-TV in a production telecast live and in color from New York and featuring a young Julie Andrews in the lead role. (That version only exists now as a black-and-white kinescope film.) In 1965 CBS videotaped, again in color, a new version of the show at Television City in Hollywood, starring a young Leslie Ann Warren.  That version was rerun every holiday season for years to come.  Finally in 1997 came an updated TV version featuring Brandy Norwood.  Stage adaptations of the show began appearing in the early 1960s. 

We're talking about Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical "Cinderella" which is performed this weekend and next by students of Logan-Rogersville High School. We were joined in the studio this morning by Cinderella and Prince Charming, Logan-Rogersville seniors Dorie Lea and Logan Hale, and by the school's choral director Rebecca Barringer.

"We usually choose our shows based on our current personnel (i.e. what students are available, and what roles they might be best suited for), and this show has been on our wishlist," says Rebecca Barringer. "We knew that we had Dorie and Logan as seniors this year, and that they would be perfect for these roles. It's a pretty elaborate production," she adds.  The costumer/choreographer studied the video of the most recent Broadway revival (2012) for hours on end in order to get the transformation scene, where Cinderella turns and spins into her ball gown, just right.  Barringer says Logan-Rogersville's staging of the scene "is taken directly from the Broadway production--we were actually able to emulate that pretty much exactly on our stage." (And no, we aren't going to tell how it's done!)

Working on the role of Cinderella has given Dorie Lea a new appreciation for the character. "I used to think that Cinderella wsa kind of weak--I viewed her as a 'damsel in distress' almost, when I was younger. I never connected with her as much as I did with some of the later Disney princesses.  She always struck me as more of a secondary character in her own life story, which kind of struck me as strange. But the more I got into the character, the more I realized how much power she has in her hopefulness."

Logan Hale chuckles at the idea that he and Dorie were picked out for these roles as much as a year ago. As he understands the Prince Charming character, "he's not looking for just someone, just a princess to produce an heir to the throne with--he's really looking for someone he can fall in love with."  He notes that Cinderella isn't just any girl from the kingdom: she's basically, he says, "for lack of a better term, held hostage" by her stepmother and stepsisters, and the Prince would otherwise never have known she was there--or that she was suffering this abuse.  So there is an undercurrent of Prince Charming's eyes being opened to injustices taking place in the kingdom.

In addition to special effects, Rebecca Barringer mentions the show's "really stunning backdrops.  We've actually had people as us if they were printed and could they buy them somewhere! Our art teacher at the high school does our backdrops, and they're phenomenal. We also have a really stunning carriage."  And "wonderfully ridiculous" costumes for the stepsisters, adds Dorie Lea.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" will be performed two weekends, Nov.11-12 and the 18th and 19th at Logan-Rogersville High School.  Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00pm, with 3:00pm Saturday matinees.  Tickets are $8 adults, $5 students, and are available by calling the high school office at 753-2813, or visit http://www.logrog.net.