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The other ‘Cinderella’

Rodgers and Hammerstein version comes to high school

Special to The Sun

Moorestown High School will present its 2023 spring musical, “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” beginning Friday. 

“The story of ‘Cinderella’ is a part of so many people’s childhood, and we all are familiar with the story of a kindhearted peasant girl who isn’t treated well by her family, but then finds true love and still continues to show kindness to everyone,” said Erica Harr, the production’s director and choreographer.

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It’s the first time the students have performed a Rodgers and Hammerstein piece since Harr started working on the school theater program with her husband Greg, also a director at the school.

“They’re the foundation of musical theater, so to have our students exposed to the bones of musical theater is so important to us, and we love that they’re getting to do that as well,” Harr noted.

The school’s version of the classic comes closest to the 1997 film version that starred Whitney Houston and Brandy.

“There’s a really beautiful, wonderfully real quality to the fairy godmother in this version that doesn’t exist in the older one,” Harr explained. “She’s a little more stilted in the original version, and in this version, she has a more maternal quality to her that feels like she connects to Cinderella’s past, and is able to bring her some comfort from the people that Cinderella has lost.”

Senior Alisca Francois will play the fairy godmother. She shared her take on the message behind the classic, which also has a Disney animated version.

“I love the theme that you have to not expect (for) something amazing to just happen out of nowhere and know that you have to do steps to get that,” she said. “You really have to change your attitude before you expect something.”

Francois is also excited for opening night.

“Mainly the faces and the feeling of it,” she enthused. “I feel like every single person, once they see those faces, they go all out, and it’s the best it has ever been. I’m really excited for that.”

Senior Sofia Giannetto, cast as Cinderella, reflected on performing in one of her last shows.

“I’m feeling more excited than I am nervous,” she acknowledged. “You always get nervous, but nervous because you want to do well and because you want to put on a really good show. So this isn’t really as nerve-wracking as it used to be.”

Junior Lucas Kirmsse, who will play Prince Christopher, described his character as someone who feels trapped and can’t make the decisions he wants. For Kirmsse, Christopher wants freedom and to explore the world around him.

“I would say the thing that I love most about Christopher is that he’s very honest,” Kirmsse said. “He doesn’t hide his opinions very well (and) he’s not afraid to speak his mind. He’s a pretty self-deprecating character, which I love about him, and it just makes him Prince Charming.”

Along with Friday, other dates for the show are Saturday and Sunday; Friday, March 3; and Saturday, March 4. All shows will be held in the high school’s auditorium. Shows for Friday and Saturday will be at 7 p.m., with Sunday’s performance at 2 p.m. Shows for March 3 and 4 will also start at 7 p.m.

For more information, find Moorestown High School Theater on Facebook or visit http://moorestownhstheater.weebly.com.

“We can never recreate this exact moment again,” said Harr of the show. “And so there’s always something beautiful and bittersweet about that on closing.”


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