Review of LRCT’s ‘Cinderella’

By Leigh Macmillen Hayes
Special to The News

CINDERELLA, HER EVIL STEPMOTHER AND STEPSISTERS are pictured in this scene from LRCT’s ‘Cinderella.’ The final shows are June 24 through 26.

HARRISON — I must admit going in I wasn’t sure what to expect from this kid-friendly musical. I’d been to some rehearsals and saw the set and costumes in their early stages. Once the curtain opened, however, I was enchanted by the acting, choreography, music and special effects of Lake Region Community Theatre’s smile-producing production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. LRCT veterans Emma Walker and Jake Dunham portray Cinderella and the prince. Emma gives an outstanding performance as she turns her passive, much abused yet always good-natured character into an engaging presence. In doing so she provides a touch of warmth and gravity that helps make her instant connection with the prince credible.

Jake, as Prince Christopher, is not so much Prince Charming as he is a young man concerned about how his parents, especially his mother played by Ginnie Spaulding, are taking away control of his destiny. I only wish that Jake and Ginnie had projected their voices louder than the orchestra.

Craig Holden is quite humorous as the king who can’t quite fit his expanding waistline into his tight pants and must appease the queen who wants to throw an expensive ball so their son can find a suitable mate.

Anne Miller as the stepmother, Emily Davis as Portia and Shannon Oliver as Joy, all turn in undeniably hilarious performances in every conceivable way from their suitably garish, imaginative and witty costumes and make-up to their individual “flaws” and mutual loathing for the beautiful Cinderella.

And the Fairy Godmother, Keli Forke is sparkling, funny and assured as she prods Cinderella into action.

With such a large cast, it is easy for the ensemble to blend into the background, relegated to rushing in every so often to help move the story forward. But, Director Mary Bastoni ensures that no one is a wallflower. And Pamela Collins- Stahle’s choreography is lively and entertaining. Though Lake Region Community Theatre’s budget is tight, they provide plenty of theatrical magic. Greg Harris’ turntable set makes easy transitions to keep the story moving, while Michelle Brenner’s costume designs are clever and sparkling. George Wiese conducts the orchestra magically from the pit beneath the stage.

There’s quite a bit of stage magic I won’t give away, but trust me, it’s fun to watch. And when the slipper fits, I heard the audience feel the moment.

The ultimate test of any kidfriendly musical is in keeping the young ones engaged enough to get them through two hours of singing and dancing. This production appears to have passed that test with flying colors as young and old are fascinated and even thrilled when “happily ever after” becomes a reality.

The show is presented by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals. Norway Savings Bank and Hancock Lumber are proud to be a corporate sponsors.

Tickets are $15 per person and $12 for ages 12 and under and are available at Hayes True Value Hardware in Bridgton, Krainin Real Estate in Naples and Raymond, or Books N Things in Norway. Stop by Sydney’s Restaurant in Naples to receive a 10% discount when you show your ticket.

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