SHS presents different kind of Cinderella


Maggie Dickman

Ginny Mitchell, senior, stars as Cinderella in Shorewood Drama’s latest production.

Shorewood drama’s latest production, Cinderella, made its premiere on March 3. The show marks a step forward for the drama department as the first in-person musical since the pandemic began. 

The story of Cinderella is well-known as a timeless fairy tale. However, the musical strays from the classic version that initially comes to mind. The production instead depicts Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s adaptation, a collaboration between the composer, Richard Rodgers and the lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein. It was originally presented on television in the 1950’s, with several key changes from the Brothers Grimm tale. 

“The original is pretty dark, actually. This adaptation underplays some of Cinderella’s grief over the loss of her father,” said Adam Sheaffer, theater director and teacher. “This one has a lot of the same elements…the trying out of the slipper, the Godmother, the pumpkin becoming the carriage, all of those things.”

Although the fairytale shares both similar and contrasting components from the original plot, the characters themselves differ.

“The characters are named a lot of different things. Prince Charming is Prince Topher and the stepsisters are named Gabrielle and Charlotte,” said Daphne Shearburn, sophomore and member of the ensemble. 

A few members of the cast include Ginny Mitchell as the titular character Cinderella, along with Bryan Terry as Prince Topher, and Eloise Bejma and Natalie Hanaway as the Stepsisters. 

Shearburn enjoyed participating as a member of the ensemble because of the unique opportunities the show offered her.

“I love playing [in the show] because I got to wear a fancy ball gown throughout almost the entire show.” Shearburn said. “I am also in the Stepsisters’ Lament number, which is just so powerful because a lot of the time seeing women on stage collectively coming together for something that they want is pretty rare.”

While the music may appear to be admired and established throughout the musical theater industry, the process for assembling the production was far from simple.

“There’s a lot of elements that are really different from other musicals where you’re usually doing ballet or jazz dancing. The music is a little more purposive, it’s very elegant and fun but in a different way,” Sheaffer said. 

The cast and crew have been rehearsing since late November, meeting 3-5 days per week. The process of becoming performance-ready was a gradual one, taking many necessary steps along the way.

“First we start with learning all the music, because it’s really hard to learn the dances and the movements if you don’t know the music first…then we start to learn the big dance numbers…then we go in and work the individual scenes,” said Clara McElfresh, senior and Cinderella’s fairy Godmother. “We slowly but surely start to put the whole thing together.”

As the opening night grew closer, the increasing number of Covid cases became apparent within the student body, causing Sheaffer to make the difficult decision to postpone the show.

“It was supposed to open on January 27. I met with Principal Kenney and we decided that there wouldn’t be very many audience members,” Sheaffer said.

The postponement presented an additional roadblock, this time as a potential obstacle to the enthusiasm and overall mindset of the cast and crew.

“Getting delayed was a big challenge…we were really scared that our school would go virtual and then they would just cancel the show, but thankfully we were able to repurchase the rights and extend our period with the show,” McElfresh said. “It was difficult to make sure that the morale was still high and the cast was still interested in doing it.” 

Overall, the musical was a success and provided an entertaining viewing experience for families across Shorewood, as well as a beneficial opportunity for all students and staff involved. 

“Being able to see all of our lunch rehearsals and time spent working on specific parts come to fruition and to be able to put that on stage [was rewarding].” Shearburn said.

“It’s been really rewarding to see people fall in love with theater, and really look up to me and the other seniors in the cast, and find a place they belong in high school.” McElfresh said.