by Tom Sims
If you can make it to Clovis between March 15 and 24, there is a feast for the ears and eyes on 5th St. The heart-warming, life affirming Cinderella will take to the stage at the Mercedes Edwards Theater in Clovis.
Building on a long tradition of presenting an ancient story in drama and music, the brilliant team of Rodgers and Hammerstein first introduced their interpretation of Cinderella to the world in 1957 where Julie Andrews starred in a television production. Now, Julie L. Andrews is directing the Buchanan Drama Department in a presentation of the timeless story on March 15, 16,17, 22, 23 and 24 at the Mercedes Edwards Theater in Clovis.
Andrews says, “Using the original book and music, and working with costumes and music done by Buchanan students, Cinderella will bring classic Broadway magic to the audience. The exquisite sets and costumes will only serve to bring you further into the land of fairytales as you enjoy a magical evening for the whole family.”
The Cinderella story has become a part of our cultural mythology and language. When some downtrodden, maligned, and unlikely soul emerges from obscurity to greatness, it is described as a “Cinderella story.” The world needs Cinderella as much as Cinderella needs the world.
Circulated through time as a folk tale, it was first published as a literary work by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. The roots of the story may date back to Greek antiquity. It took the collaboration of Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers to create the celebration that the Buchanan students will stage beginning March 15.
Cinderella is “stuck” like so many people feel “stuck” today. Her mistress is an evil stepmother, supported by wicked step-sisters who relegate her to the life of a much maligned chamber-maid. Her name implies that she is covered with cinders from the fires she stokes. She has no hope of emerging from this life. She has no prospects for marriage or a future. She is trapped in a prison of domestic cruelty.
Then, there comes a fairy and a prince and a dance and a shoe… and a show!
Cinderella is so compelling because it is a celebration of hope and possibility. It is about the possibility that a dream that is pursued can truly make a difference. Our lives can change. We are not “stuck.”
There is grace, forgiveness, and love in the story, a strong moral, and a social comment. According to Perrault there are two morals to the Cinderella story. The first is that “beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.”
There is a second, however, and it was a criticism of the social order that held people back from achieving their potential. “Another moral: Without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother.”
All that noted, Cinderella, the production, is a night of fun, entertainment, and joy for the entire family. As Julie L. Andrews says, “If the shoe fits …”
Wear it, by all means, and show up! It should be a great fit for adults and children alike. Andrews notes, “Over 100 of the Buchanan Bears have been working to make ‘Impossible things are happening everyday’ part of this theater season for the Clovis and Fresno Communities.” The first rehearsal for the musical was January 3rd and the cast has been working hard ever since.
Andrews has been teaching in Clovis Schools for the last 20 years. She is a published author with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Antioch University. “We started the Buchanan Fine Arts Academy three years ago, and we received a CTE grant to build a 250 seat proscenium theater on the campus for the purposes of teaching technical theater.”
Math, science, social sciences, and so many of the subjects necessary for our education give us skills for how to survive in the world. The arts teach us why we live and give full expression to the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and exuberance that swell up inside of us. The arts provide us with glass slippers, magical carriages, and wishful ideas that paint over impossibilities to create new realities. From the studios, stages, and canvasses of our artistic endeavors emerge Cinderella stories even today.
Show up and be inspired!
Cinderella runs on March 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, and 24 at 7:30 PM at the Mercedes Edwards Theater in Clovis. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults, and can be purchased at the box office at the Buchanan Drama Room or at the theater box office one hour prior to performances. For any additional information or group ticket packages, please feel free to call the Buchanan High School Drama Department (559) 327-3403, or log on to Buchananarts.com.
Cinderella: Susanna De La Pena
Prince Christopher: Shahen Ohanian
Fairy Godmother: Sky Stone
Step-Mother: Cassandra Campbell
Portia: Sasha Papagni
King: Chad Foster
Queen: Brianna White
Director: Julie L. Andrews
Choreographer: Derek Goldenstein
Vocal Director: Roger Bergman
Music Director: Matthew Dean
To read a full interview with Julie L. Andrews, follow this link to Tom’s blog: http://pastortomsims.typepad.com/the_dream_factory/2012/03/my-interview-with-director-julie-andrews-of-clovis.html
Reference for Perrault: Bottigheimer, Ruth. (2008). “Before Contes du temps passe (1697): Charles Perrault’s Griselidis, Souhaits and Peau”. The Romantic Review, Volume 99, Number 3. pp. 175-189