Cranberry High School Drama Club to Present ‘Cinderella – The Enchanted Edition’ March 14-17

| March 13, 2019

SENECA, Pa. – The Cranberry High School Drama Club is presenting “Cinderella – The Enchanted Edition” from March 14 to March 17 as its spring musical.

This version of Cinderella was originally created, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, as a live television broadcast in 1957. To date, it is the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was written exclusively for television. The show was subsequently remade for television in 1965 and 1997.

The Enchanted Edition is adapted from the latter television production which featured pop-singers, Brandy and Whitney Houston. It was originally broadcast on ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney on November 2, 1997.

The musical contains most of the lyrical songs from the original 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical but has utilized modern language and updated references in the script. Classic songs for the original, such as In My Own Little Corner, Ten Minutes Ago, and Stepsister’s Lament will still be heard in all their Rodgers and Hammerstein glory.

Last year, Cranberry Drama Club, under the direction of Mr. Jason M. Kosmiski and Mr. Preston D. Yoder, produced Big Fish, a musical based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the film directed by Tim Burton. Big Fish told the story of Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman and his incredible, larger-than-life stories.

Mr. Kosmiski, musical production director at Cranberry High School, told, “Last year’s show was definitely aimed at a more mature audience. It dealt with more mature themes, such as adult relationships and death.”

Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper, is a folk tale about a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story was published in 1697 by Charles Perrault and remains one of today’s most popular children’s stories.

“We’re definitely catering to a different demographic with Cinderella, as compared to last year’s show. Big Fish dealt with more mature themes. This one is a total kids’ show — it’s a fairy tale,” said Kosmiski.

The production team, however, doesn’t feel like the material is any less worthy than some of the more “adult” musicals available today.

“It’s kind of like those movies, where it’s a kid’s movie, but it has just enough lines to allow the adults to enjoy it too, which surprised me because it’s classic Rodgers and Hammerstein,” said Mr. Yoder, musical director.

Just because the subject matter is more “kid-friendly,” doesn’t mean that the drama club students are content on resting on their laurels.

“In Big Fish the kids really got a chance to develop their dramatic acting abilities; Cinderella will give them an opportunity to brush up on their comedy skills,” said Kosmiski.

Yoder agrees, “I think it’s the funniest show we’ve done here in five years.”

In addition to the change of pace storywise, the music will be markedly different from last year’s sound.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein is classic American musical theater. It’s good music, and we haven’t done one of their shows here yet,” said Yoder.

What makes a 62-year-old musical the ideal choice for a high school musical in 2019?

“Our goal, in directing, is to expose our students to as many different kinds of musical theater as we can in their four years at Cranberry. We’ve done a contemporary show (Big Fish); we’ve done a Disney show (Beauty and the Beast). This year we decided to do a classic show,” explained Kosmiski.

At Cranberry, the direction of the school musical has a unique dynamic. Kosmiski handles the overall direction, lines and blocking, while Yoder manages the signing, musical integration, and conducts the pit orchestra, with responsibilities overlapping at times.

It is truly a joint effort.

“I’m sure a lot of the area schools have a director that has a music background. I’m not that director. I’m a director that has a drama background. I’ve only directed plays before this. Here we have two people from different backgrounds coming together to make a show,” said Kosmiski.

This year marks the fourth production under the joint direction of Kosmiski and Yoder. Many of the students in this year’s show began their theater careers in the pair’s first production, Wizard of Oz, in 2016. Many are familiar faces, returning to the CHS stage for a second or third time.

Both directors see this as a distinct advantage when it comes to their acting troupe and stage crew.

“At this point, we’ve all kind of started clicking to what’s going on now,” said Yoder.

The drama club only lost two graduating seniors last year, so most of the cast and crew of Big Fish are returning to produce Cinderella and are used to Kosmisk and Yoder’s directing style.

“They’ve kind of learned what we do. I think the students we have now trust the process. They understand what we’re doing,” said Kosmiski.

Despite familiarity with their seasoned veterans, there still seems to be a place for new faces in Kosmiski and Yoder’s cast.

This year, Cranberry’s musical features newcomer, senior, Sarah Rembold as the title character. Rembold, who was previously cast as a silly girl in Beauty and the Beast, has never before performed in a leading role. Senior Baylee Fry also makes her debut as Stepmother in Cinderella. Starring opposite Rembold’s Cinderella, Michael Gunn, junior, returns to the CHS stage as Prince Christopher.

In addition, the show also features returning juniors Jenna Seigworth (Joy), Abby Hanna (Grace), Saige Slater (Fairy Godmother) Joe Gunn (Lionel), Trey Wright (King Maximilian) and sophomore, Megan Heckathorne (Queen Constantina).

Along with Kosmiski and Yoder, Cranberry’s entire musical production team from last year has returned to put on Cinderella.

Ms. Heather Hondel was responsible for writing all of the choreography for the ensemble. She also instructed the, mostly underclassmen, group to execute the perfect waltz. Hondel is a 2017 Cranberry graduate and currently a sophomore at Grove City College.

Mrs. Lori Hart, art director, has again managed a crew of dedicated art students working after school hours to build sets and props. This year, Hart was responsible for such diverse sets as the interior of the Stepmother’s manor house, adjoining pumpkin patch, and Prince Christopher’s palace and royal gardens. Hart currently serves as an English and art teacher at Cranberry High School.

This year’s production includes one of the most stunning and complicated enchanted transformations — Cinderella’s dress change. Mrs. Kathryn Yoder, the costume designer, has been working, sometimes through the night, to ensure that this particular costume change will indeed be magical. Yoder’s handmade costumes actually help students shape and develop their characters.

Business and publicity is a major part of any musical. Mrs. Lori Corbett, Cranberry guidance counselor and business manager for the musical, is again managing ticketing and overseeing ticket presales. Corbett is also responsible for printing posters, tickets, seeking advertisers, and designing the show’s program and cast T-shirt.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella will debut on Thursday, March 14, in the Cranberry High School auditorium.

The Thursday, March 14th, Friday, March 15th, and Saturday, March 16th shows will begin at 7:00 p.m., while the Sunday, March 17th matinee will begin at 2:00 p.m.

Ticket prices are $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children under 12. Pre-sale tickets are available at the school store window at the high school from 7:15 a.m., during all school lunches, and from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. after school.

Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

The Cranberry Area School District is located at 3 Education Drive, Seneca, Pa.

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