BY MARY GARRISON
The sets are under construction, the principal parts are cast and rehearsals are set to begin for the next big West Point Clay County Arts Council community theater production, “Cinderella.”
The community rendition of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical is set to debut Aug. 1 at Center Stage in West Point, however there’s much yet to be done before the show goes public, according to Director Ginger Fowler.
Fowler said auditions wrapped up Saturday, and while parts had been cast rehearsals would not fully begin until June 2. From there, the production will quickly take off, however, with the chorus rehearsing Monday evenings and the cast working Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings.
“I’ll get the music in about the second week in May,” Fowler said. “Then we’ll get it passed out for everyone to start learning before rehearsals start in June. … (The auditions) went great. We were very pleased with the turnout and pleased with the results.”
Results which will bring about 70 area residents to the stage by the time the curtains close. The production follows Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Enchanted” edition, which utilizes a larger cast, said Scott Reed, WPCCAC vice president and the local production’s “Prince Charming.” The goal, he said, was to include as many residents who wanted to participate as possible.
Still, there are more parts to be had. Reed said the production needs more residents — particularly men — to play in nonspeaking roles for scenes such as the ballroom.
“This is the first time we’ve actually filled all of the principal roles in the first audition,” Reed said. “… We need more townspeople.”
It’s not a production for any one age group, either. Fowler said parts had been cast for residents age 5 up to 80. And while the show has such a diverse range of local actors, Fowler said the crew had a plan to get everyone ready for their best performance. Betty Griffin, dance instructor and owner of the Academy for Performing Arts will serve as the show’s choreographer, as well as offering instruction to the youngest performers. Adults will rehearse with Fowler as Griffin works with the children simultaneously in another location of the same building.
Fowler said it was a formula she felt would work well for parents and children involved.
“Summer is such a busy time,” Fowler said. “We want to use people’s time wisely and make the most of our rehearsal time.”
The production isn’t Fowler’s first go-round, either. She served as a high school choral director for 31 years, mostly in the West Point School District, and in addition to having directed the last major Arts Council production of “The Music Man” in 2011, this summer’s show will be the fifth time Fowler has taken the helm of “Cinderella.”
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