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South Valley Journal

‘Cinderella’ power

Nov 02, 2017 12:55PM ● By Jet Burnham

Cinderella, played by Ari Bagley, calls for social change in the Riverton High School production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

The “Cinderella” story is a well-known tale, but when Riverton High School performs Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” there may be some surprises. The Cinderella in this version is more proactive and socially conscious. 

“Cinderella is no longer just a victim,” said Director Clin Eaton. “She ends up rescuing the prince and helps him become a better man and a better leader just as much as he helps her overcome her humble beginnings.” 

Erin McGuire, another theater teacher at RHS, thinks this version is a nice change.

“It isn’t just a romance—of course that’s a huge part of it—but she’s being treated unjustly, so she tries to have others be treated more justly,” she said. 

This 2013 adaption comes from writer Douglas Carter Beane. Eaton said when Beane was asked to adapt the play for Broadway, he looked to the original French fairy tale, “Cendrillon, ou la Petite Pantoufle de Verre” by Charles Perrault. Beane noted that this story had an empowered Cinderella. He decided to incorporate those qualities into his adaption of the character.  

“She’s got some power,” said Ari Bagley, a senior who plays the lead role. “She’s got a bunch of courage that none of the other Cinderellas have.” The new production also features a not-so-wicked stepsister who takes Cinderella’s side. 

The cast includes: Ari Bagley, as Ella; Mikey Rowe, as Prince Topher; Mary Tibbitts, as Marie; Gavin Curtis, as Sebastian; Brooklyn Paxman, as Madame; Brittany Belnap, as Gabrielle; and Kaitlyn Schreiner, as Charlotte.  

A total of 75 students are in the cast. An additional 75 students are involved off-stage providing music, backstage technicians and food. Forty student musicians from Philharmonic, Wind Symphony and Percussion 3 classes will be in the orchestra pit playing the musical’s score. 

“The parts are the same that the professional musicians play so it takes quite a bit of work for them to get it ready,” said music teacher Jason Weimer. 

Another 15 students will work as stage crew, running the lights, curtains and rigging.

 The show will run at the RHS auditorium Thursday, Nov. 16; Friday, Nov. 17; Saturday, Nov. 18; and Monday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. The show runs two hours with an intermission.

Tickets can be purchased in the RHS Main Office Monday–Friday between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. (by cash or card) or 45 minutes before each show begins. Tickets for senior citizens and children (high school age and under) are $8; adult tickets are $9. 

For fans of princes and princesses who want to experience being part of the magic, Saturday’s matinee will be preceded by the “It’s Possible Royal Tea Party.” Children are invited to have lunch with Cinderella and the Prince. The tea party will be held at noon on Nov. 18. Prices of the tickets are: Children 11 and under, $16; adults, $20. Tickets include lunch, the meet-and-greet with the royal couple and reserved seating for the 2 p.m. matinee. Seating is limited, so advance tickets are required. Tickets for the tea party can be purchased during office hours in RHS’s main office.

Bagley, who currently works at a daycare, also has experience playing princesses at birthday parties, so she is excited to interact with the kids at the tea party.

Lindsay Maxfield and 20students in RHS’s ProStart class will provide the food for the Tea Party. The ProStart class, sponsored by the Utah and National Restaurant Association, is geared toward students who are interested in the restaurant industry. Students are responsible for developing the menu, recipes and costing/pricing for the event. The tea party is a chance for them to explore whimsy and glamour as they design the finger food and beverages for the event. Special attention will go toward plating the elegant food in a “Cinderella”-inspired theme sure to impress guests.