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RLT’s “Cinderella” Is a Zany Musical Comedy Based on the Familiar French Fairy Tale by Charles Perrault

"Cinderella" will run Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 on Raleigh Little Theatre's main stage

"Cinderella" will run Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 on Raleigh Little Theatre's main stage

Raleigh Little Theatre will present its gala 28th annual production of Cinderella on Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 in its Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. Director Haskell Fitz-Simons, who has directed all 27 previous RLT productions of Cinderella, will team up with new choreographer Leah Landau and veteran Cinderella musical director Julie Florin to stage this delightful musical comedy, which features music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy and a book and lyrics by Eiler, based on the familiar French fairy tale by Charles Perrault (1628-1703).

The 2011 edition of Cinderella stars Kelly Francis as Cinderella, Sandi Sullivan as her Fairy Godmother, Robert Steinberg as Prince Charming, Rose Martin Higgins as Cinderella’s evil Stepmama, and M. Dennis Poole and Tim Cherry — in glorious drag, complete with yarn wigs — as Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters Gertrude and Henrietta.

Other Cinderella “principals” include: Clint Lienau and Mark Taranto as Fairy Godmother’s Helpers; David Adams as King Darling; Chase Allen as the Young Prince; and Jessica McGee and Kaylin Roberson as Pages. The mice whom the Fairy Godmother transforms into ponies to pull Cinderella’s carriage include Lauren-Taylor Carrillo, Griffin Cece, Alexandra Merz, Madison Mitchell, Courtney Pring, and Max Sharpe.

The men’s ensemble includes Ryan Bliss, Jerry Brown, Christopher Cameron, Danny Dove, Robert Furmage, Elisha Garcia, Lee King, and Misha Nikitine; and the women’s ensemble includes Amy Berenson, Lela Johnston, Lydia Kinton, Lauren Parker, Morgan Piner, Emily Schmid, Heather Shinpaugh, and Jillian Varner.

Director Haskell Fitz-Simons notes, “We have a returning Cinderella alumna in the role of Cinderella. She was Kelly Carruth, and now she’s Kelly Francis. She appears courtesy of Actor’s Equity, and she’s wonderful.”

He adds, “Sandi Sullivan is back as the Fairy Godmother. She’s been away for a number of years, and her glamour and her talents are nice to have….

“We have a new King Darling (David Adams), a new Prince Charming (Robert Steinberg, who was one of Fairy Godmother’s Helpers last year), and two new Helpers for Fairy Godmother (Clint Lienau and Mark Taranto),” Fitz-Simons says.

Ugly Stepsisters Henrietta (Timothy Cherry) and Gertrude (M. Dennis Poole) will get a "makeover" in 2011 (photo by Stuart Wagner)

Ugly Stepsisters Henrietta (Timothy Cherry) and Gertrude (M. Dennis Poole) will get a "makeover" in 2011 (photo by Stuart Wagner)

In addition to director Haskell Fitz-Simons, choreographer Leah Landau, and musical director Julie Florin, the Raleigh Little Theatre creative team for the 28th edition of Cinderella includes assistant to the director Adrienne Dyson, technical director Jim Zervas, lighting designer Cailen Waddell, costume designer Vicki Olson, sound designer Todd Houseknecht, and stage manager Mike McGee. Former RLT set designers Bill Rodgers and Rick Young created most of the show’s storybook scenery. But this year there will be added scenic elements by Thomas Mauney.

Director Haskell Fitz-Simons admits that that Cinderella has some new scenic elements this year, but he’s cagey about what they are. All he will say is: “The story has opened up a little bit, in the cinematic sense….

“[Costume designer] Vicki Olson has totally redone her vision of the Stepsisters and Stepmama, and their costumes have to be seen to be believed,” claims Fitz-Simons.

He adds, “I don’t think we have any new music of any significance. We always add little snips and snaps. For example, the mouse’s song is back in this year…. [Musical director] Julie [Florin] and I wrote a little song for those talented youngsters who have to sing at auditions, and don’t get to sing a lot during the show. This song is as cute as a bug.”

Cinderella director Haskell Fitz-Simons says, “We have lucked into getting two bona fide ballet dancers (Elisha Garcia and Misha Nikitine), and they have spiced up the ensemble. So, our battle of the hobby horses is a good deal more exciting than it has been [in previous years].”

Raleigh Little Theatre presents CINDERELLA at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16, and 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18 in RLT‘s Cantey V. Sutton Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $25.

BOX OFFICE: 919/821-3111 or http://www.etix.com/.

SHOW: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows/11-12/cinderella28.html.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.raleighlittletheatre.org/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/about/map-directions.html.

NOTE: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices are available for all shows.

OTHER LINKS:

Cinderella (background): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella (Wikipedia).

Cinderella (e-texts): http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510a.html (from D. L. Ashliman’s folk texts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

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