It is a sociological fact that every known culture has a version of the "Cinderella" story within their history. Of course, Walt Disney's animated version has been the standard in North America for decades. However, it was Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical, "Cinderella," which really elevated the vision (and the version) of the story from commonplace to being a sparkling jewel, and one that is too frequently overlooked, in their long tradition of producing fine musicals.
In 1957, Julie Andrews played the title role in a live performance, but it was the 1960s televised version starring Lesley-Ann Warren that lingers in the memory of most of the contemporary artist between the ages of 35 and 65.
The production came to life in our own neighborhood, as the Skaneateles High School Drama club presented the musical to the public Nov. 3 through 5 at the high school auditorium. The production was a fine attempt and had many moments of sparkle and fairy dust that saw it through from beginning to end.
In the title role of Cinderella, Rachel Scarr was prettily perfect as the young girl, oppressed into servitude by her overbearing stepmother, Chantel LeBlanc, and nasty stepsisters, Anna Stechyschyn and Chloe Warner. Playing off the magnificent backdrops and arrayed in dazzling costumes, the production was a testimony to the simple but poignant fairy tale.
Stephanie Wisniewski demonstrated a surprising maturity in her role as Queen Mayzie, and Allen Jerabeck, as crusty King Maximilian in a foppish black wig, gave solid performance that grounded the production and prevented the musical from becoming too saccharine. Colgan McNeil was perfect in his role of Prince Charming, and LeBlanc had an obviously good time and imbued her character of the Fairy Stepmother both with an airy nonchalance and good natured feisty-ness.
While one couldn't help wishing that some of the chorus would have tried some makeup to look older, the production was all that could be wished for in terms of earnest attention to the story line. While youth does not generally do a good job of portraying age, the one thing they always do a good job of is playing young love. Scarr and McNeil gave their characters a sense of gentle sweetness that was touching and appropriate.