A Tale of Cinderella
Time: November 07, 2008Place: Douglas Morrisson TheatreRole: Prince NiccoloDirector: Faith Blevins
This show was originally intended to be the Rodgers and Hammerstein version. Obviously, had that been the case, I would not be writing right now. But as luck would have it, the rights to the other version were denied. And so, A Tale of Cinderella was selected instead. I suppose I could spend this entire article writing about how much I detest the R&H version and how baffled I am that people keep doing it despite its lack of any good songs or a decent plot. But be that as it may, this article is about A Tale of Cinderella in my experience with that show.
At any rate, when I was told of this new show, my interest was piqued. It was described to me as a cross between Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera. Well now, that sounded interesting and quite exciting, though we would have to see. There wasn’t much information online; however, the song selections were posted and a few pictures of a very nice set–oh yeah, this show takes place in Venice.
But it wasn’t until auditions that I got an idea of the music and story. Actually, they didn’t have the show music during auditions so we sang selections from other shows. That was interesting, but fine by me. It wasn’t like I had a chance to sing Phantom of the Opera songs at many auditions or callbacks, though that might be a good thing–those songs are tough.
Auditions led to callbacks and I really had to make a decision about the show. I just wasn’t completely sure I wanted to do it as I had already done three shows for the year and had a lots of other things on my plate. It was also hard to say, "No." I just couldn’t decide. Callbacks went fine and the next thing you know the cast was posted and the next thing you know, I was doing the show as the Prince.
At our first meeting, we were given our paperwork scripts and show information. Then we watched a DVD of the show. Turns out they filmed it when it was performed back east over 10 years ago. It also turns out that the Prince really doesn’t have that much to do and the show wasn’t exactly a Beauty and the Beast or Phantom of the Opera. Nevertheless, it was entertaining and looked alright. Still, on paper, and perhaps on DVD, it just didn’t seem all that great.
Shortly after, we were doing rehearsals. This period would be very, very long, covering August, September, October, and November. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a show with such a long rehearsal period. Though there was a catch — we would only have a couple rehearsals per week. So things evened out in the end, and I really did not miss that much dinner theater for rehearsals. I even got out of one or two.
My part mainly consisted of a hearty scene in the middle of act one and a wrap-up scenes in act two. Thus I had long periods of nothing to do, which actually worked to my advantage since I had schoolwork to work on, books to read, and papers to correct. I wanted some time away from the computer. At home, I knew I would only work, but being forced to be somewhere else, I could focus on other things. This isn’t to say I got a lot of work done at rehearsal, but I did get some things accomplished and it was better than nothing.
We had a great cast. I know I know I say this almost every show, but it’s often the case. Either great performers are cast or people who are cast and up improving their talents in becoming good performers. This was also a good family cast, including older folks and children. By the end of the run, I had kids climbing all over me, one on each arm and one jumping on my back. I suppose was a good workout, when they weren’t tearing my costume or stealing my hat.
Overall, everyone was nice and friendly. I don’t remember any bickering or fights going on; everybody seemed to get along great and no one was competing for attention or roles.
We opened well and our houses were packed. It was nice to see, especially after Urinetown sold so poorly. Despite my earlier analysis about why ticket sales were down for that show, the primary reason appears to be the name. People just don’t have any interest in shows with Urine in the title.
Most nights went very smoothly. On nights I said Macbeth, things went even smoother. So much for superstition, people. Still, not everything was perfect:
- On one night, I completely forgot my lyrics and made stuff up as I went along. Oh boy, was that a fun night
- During one opening, the house lights never went down. We could see everyone out there. Very strange experience. Sort of like dinner theatre.
Wow. That’s all I can think of. This run went pretty smoothly. I even made my 30-second costume change every time. That surprised even me.
Jeannie, a fellow cast member, was kind enough to open her house for a few cast parties. We actually had a ton of fun at those. Even more amazing is that no alcohol was needed to have a great time. See? People don’t have to get drunk to have a great time! "But, James, then why do you always have a glass of wine before dinner shows?" Hey, this is MY article; leave me alone! And those glasses are to relax!
The main event was a game of …shoot…can’t even remember the name, but it was a game of hot potato, where the buzzer rang if you were stuck too long on a question. Instead of teams, we invented a mush pot, where losers would sit in the middle until another loser was declared. People had a real blast during this game, and some even went overboard at cheering and enjoying the demise of others (I won’t name names).
So overall, I had a great time–much better than I anticipated. People really seemed to like the show, and that’s how it is for some productions. On paper, they don’t look so hot, but add the songs and fun dances, and things really come to life.
Next: You won’t leave?