PHS presented Cinderella on March 8-11, 2018.
HERSHEY APOLLO AWARDS
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Tori Gaffey
HERSHEY APOLLO AWARD NOMINATIONS:
Outstanding Dance Number: The Prince is Giving a Ball
Outstanding Student Orchestra
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Lily Fields
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Musical: Miranda Gates
You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who isn’t familiar with the story of Cinderella, the tale of the lonely orphan who rises above adversity. While she may be recognized by many different cultural names and have experienced numerous interpretations, Cinderella is so much more than an animated movie, a Sunday evening television special, or an overplayed VHS tape starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. Cinderella is a fundamental story of hope, hard work, and dreams fulfilled.
The inspiration for our Cinderella dates back to the late 1600s and Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon. It makes the most of the new Broadway book, which seeks to highlight a renewed focus for Ella. She’s looking for more than just personal happiness and making her own dreams come true. She’s contributing to the community around her and using her influence to better the world. This Cinderella is as much about the town and people who surround her as it is about the title character. We get to know Prince Topher, a guy who wants to make a name for himself —more than just charming. The transformations go beyond dresses and pumpkins. Selfish and mean people, like the stepsisters, transform into examples of kindness. Even Ella’s Godmother is plucked right from her daily interactions.
Cinderella is a story of worlds colliding, of people saying “Now is the Time” to stand up and be heard. Ella’s life is complicated, and she’s doing her best to balance taking care of others while protecting herself. She’s in the middle of a world faced with strife and conflict, a world where everyone wants and needs to be heard. Topher struggles with knowing who to believe and how to be true to himself. This year, we focused on vulnerability and trying to be truthful in a society that doesn’t always want to hear what you have to say. Navigating this difficult time is hard for the peasants, serfs, lords, and ladies of Cinderella. And it isn’t any easier for our students growing up in such a conflicted time.
However, if there was ever a group of students ready to take on the trials of the ever-changing world, it’s this amazing cast, crew, and pit. Cinderella is a huge show, and they’ve risen to the challenges every day. They have shared laughs, encouraged each other through frustrating moments, and worked together to bring you the amazing magic of theatre. But none of us could have accomplished this on our own.
A few months ago, Dr. Richardson gave me a call. He said, there’s a new teacher I think you should meet. When we sat down at my favorite Red Canoe coffee spot, I tried to explain our musical program—an amazing group of hardworking, talented, and complex students. I talked about their families and the community volunteers that support our ever-growing organization. I told him, “it really is a village.” Those words have stayed with me throughout every hour of every rehearsal, for each moment of planning, and every time someone said, “what do your students need.” The success you see before you is shared and could not have happened without the efforts of our whole village. I’ve been brought to tears so many times throughout this season by the continual generosity of time and resources for our students. Thank you to each and every one of you. As I keep saying, once you’re in this village, you can’t get out. But I’ll be honest, with a community like this, who would want to leave?