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Summer musical promises 'magical' entertainment

 

Scott Reed as Prince Christopher, far right, and Art Shirley, as the royal steward, seek the owner of a glass slipper during rehearsal for the West Point/Clay County Arts Council’s production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” The stepmother portrayed by Joni Seitz, center, and stepsisters played by Laura Stewart and Mia Vick, at left, vie for their chance to try on the slipper.

Scott Reed as Prince Christopher, far right, and Art Shirley, as the royal steward, seek the owner of a glass slipper during rehearsal for the West Point/Clay County Arts Council’s production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” The stepmother portrayed by Joni Seitz, center, and stepsisters played by Laura Stewart and Mia Vick, at left, vie for their chance to try on the slipper. Photo by: Courtesy photo

 

Jan Swoope

 

Rogers and Hammerstein's musical tale of Cinderella comes to life in West Point Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-2. The West Point/Clay County Arts Council's summer musical begins at 7 p.m. in the Center Stage Auditorium located at Central School, 634 E. Westbrook St.  

 

"Cinderella" is a Tony Award-winning musical that debuted in 1957 as a television production. With a surprisingly contemporary take on the classic fairy tale, the story encompasses elements one expects -- pumpkin, slipper, masked ball -- plus some surprising twists, organizers said. 

 

Rehearsals began in early June for the show directed by Ginger Fowler. The veteran theater professional has directed more than 20 productions and served as choral director in schools and churches.  

 

Fowler said, "It's a lot of fun working with such a talented cast, not to mention those dedicated people working on sets, publicity, costumes, choreography and all of the other things it takes to put on a production of this magnitude. It's truly a team effort to get the show ready for opening night." 

 

Scott Reed is the current president of the West Point/Clay County Arts Council. 

 

"Several generations ago, West Point was well known for producing entertaining, top quality theatrical productions," Reed said. "The arts council is doing its best to restore that reputation. Over the years, we have made great progress toward achieving that goal. Our production of 'The Music Man' three years ago proved that our town has the ability and desire to engage in top-notch theater." 

 

 

 

In character 

 

The "Cinderella" cast features Callie Ellis in the title role. Donna Ross, as the fairy godmother, works her magic, and Reed, as Prince Christopher, finds his true love in spite of the antics of stepmother Joni Seitz and stepsisters Grace and Joy, portrayed by Mia Vick and Laura Stewart. Art Shirley plays the royal steward. The King and Queen are portrayed by Marc Stewart and Lynn Posey. 

 

Choreography is by Betty Deans Griffin, a professional dancer and instructor. Musicians are Glen Brown, Mary Marlin and Hannah Garbutt. Lighting and sound is by Roger Merchant. 

 

Crew members include Mary Ann Berry, Louise Campbell, Critz Campbell, Dixie Dukeminier, Evelyn Estrada, Julie Gray and Lewise Jackson. Costume mistress is Laura Stewart. Kathy Dyess, Tricia Smith and Souzen Steelhammer head publicity, poster and program design. A large chorus of townspeople, merchants, flower girls, mice and guests at the palace ball are also participating.  

 

"Not only are the theatrical arts important for offering entertainment to those in the audience," said Reed, "but the experience of 'putting on a show' brings unity and camaraderie to those both behind and in front of the curtain. The planning, rehearsals, set construction, costuming and performances turn friends into family." 

 

 

 

How to go 

 

Tickets are $12 for adults ($10 for seniors) and $7 for students and children 3-18. Call 662-494-5678 to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets will also be sold at the door. Auditorium doors open at 6 p.m.; the show begins at 7 p.m.

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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