EMS kids slip into roles for ‘Cinderella’

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

This year’s musical at Evergreen Middle School combines the new with the familiar.

New this year for the production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” is Tom Biaso, an eighth-grader who accompanies the singers on piano. In past years, the music has been provided via recordings or a professional accompanist.

Two directors are replacing Missy Calkin, who retired in May. Instrumental music teacher Kevin Floth is the producer and music director, and former EMS parent Cheri Rubin, who has helped with the musicals in the past, is the director.

More familiar to attendees is eighth-grader Zoi Johns, who plays Cinderella. Zoi was the lead in last year’s musical, “Annie.”

As in years past, EMS teachers Chet Andes builds the sets, Susan Scott is in charge of costumes, and Rachel Ullrich is the choreographer.

Performances are this weekend in the school cafetorium. This is a shortened version of the original musical.

The story of Cinderella needs no explanation, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein version has been on Broadway many times, including a revival production in 2013. Three television adaptations have been aired: one with Julie Andrews as Cinderella in the 1950s, with Lesley Ann Warren as the lead in 1965, and with singer Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the godmother in 1997.

This will be Zoi’s last theater production at EMS, since she will be attending Lakewood High School in the fall. She says performing in the musicals has been a great experience, and she’s hoping for a career in the theater.

“Every play is a great experience,” said Zoi, 13. “I want to do acting and singing as a career. I’m more interested in theater right now.”

This is the first musical performance for sixth-grader Katy Franey, who plays the godmother. She decided to try out for the play after seeing a musical on stage last summer, and she thought it would be fun.

Learning all of the lines and the lyrics can be confusing at times, she said, but she’s ready to jump into more productions.

“Cinderella” was a natural choice given the students and their level of talent, according to the directors. The show has 45 cast members and 11 crew members.

“We knew we could get 10 strong leads,” Rubin said. “This is a gorgeous musical.”

Floth added: “The cast selected for all of the leads were suitable for the roles.”

Forty-five cast members means 80 costumes, which keeps Scott busy. Even members of the stage crew wear jester hats.

Ullrich said her school performed “Cinderella” when she was in eighth grade, so she was partial to doing this show. As the choreographer, she puts together dances that students are able to master.

“I’m always surprised at how naturally (dance) comes to some of them,” said Ullrich, who was a professional dancer. “I can mold them into something they never thought they could do.”

The remaining lead performers in the show are Leah York as the stepmother, Lexie Greenawalt as Portia, Kiana Holmes as Joy, Zack Miller as the prince, Ian Miller as the herald, Alex Hummell as the queen, Jack Lindquist as the king, and Justin Arndt as the chef.

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.

If you go …

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, and at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in the Evergreen Middle School cafetorium. Tickets are $5. To purchase tickets, contact Pam Lindquist at 720-339-4687 or e-mail  pplindquist@gmail.com.