2nd Star Productions CinderellaBy Betsy Marks Delaney • Jun 16th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
2nd Star Productions
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through July 2nd
2:30 with two intermissions
$20/$17 Students and Seniors
Reviewed June 11th, 2011
Of all the fairy tales out there, none has attracted more attention than the Cinderella story. The lost slipper and the royal search for the girl who owns it dates as far back as ancient Egypt. The unwanted stepchild and her loathsome stepmother and ugly stepsisters have been the subjects of every sort of media representation, including opera, ballet, movie, book and theatrical presentation.
In 1957, the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, II brought the story to television with Julie Andrews in the title role. The color broadcast was captured in black and white kinescope and is the only remaining representation of this first version of the musical. It is this version of the musical that Jane B. Wingard (Director), Joe Biddle (Musical Director) and 2nd Star Productions have selected to bring to the Bowie Playhouse stage. And as much as I love the Leslie Ann Warren version that I watched growing up, this has to be my favorite.
Wingard’s impressive scenic design sets the stage for this ambitious production, with 20 dancing, singing chorus members and a core of talented performers including Pam Shilling as the lovely but put-upon Cinderella, the girl who’s not what she appears to be and John Scheeler as the Prince who isn’t ready to settle down just yet. It’s as much a pleasure listening to their enchanting songs as it is watching their comic timing and the way they interact with their respective families.
Linda Swann (more commonly behind the scenes, which is a shame) is the Prince’s long-suffering mother and Queen, as well as costumer for this extravaganza of organza, satin and lace. Wendell Holland is the Prince’s understanding, sympathetic, father and King, long-suffering foil to his wife’s grand plans for marrying their son off as soon as possible.
On the other side, Heidi Toll is the hypercritical Step Mother who only wants the best for her “Real” daughters, Joy (the green-clad and joyless, but nevertheless funny Lisa Gregg) and Portia (frothy pink and ditzy Malarie Novotny), and that includes riding Cinderella hard while treating her own family to all the rest and relaxation they can handle.
Between these two hilariously dysfunctional families comes Debe Tighe, surprisingly down-to-earth Godmother with a gift for making things sparkle and an ability to show Cinderella that she already has everything she needs to make her own way.
What the generally young cast sometimes lacks in precision they more than make up for with enthusiasm. Vicki Smith’s elaborate choreography is quite elegant and recognizes the strengths and abilities of her dancers. Together with Wingard’s able and often humorous direction and Joe Biddle’s musical guidance, they bring out the best in the entire cast. Swann’s costumes are delightful, even hideously perfect and Garrett R. Hyde’s lighting and special effects ice the cake.
Worthy of special mention: The three white mice (Creedence Jackson, Cecelia (CeCe) Shilling and Noah Wingard) are charming little scene stealers.
This is a family event, though perhaps just a smidge long for the very youngest in the crowd. My 7 and 10 year-old girls, both seasoned theatre critics, enjoyed the show very much and were bouncing back to the car at the end, as late as it was. Well done!
It is part of 2nd Star’s mission to present, at least most of the time, family friendly theater. What is more appropriate than CINDERELLA! It is truly a musical for all ages. As theater folks, we think that it is critical to introduce young and old to live productions in a world where technology is claiming a larger and larger market share of our lives at the expense of human interaction. Hearing a live character perform a soaring solo or a cast a magnificent chorus may enchant a youngster, opening the door to a lifelong appreciation for the live performance. That’s our hope and goal–bringing in the next generation as performers and patrons.
Why involve the kids? Besides raising your own actors, it has long been established through educational studies that students involved in the arts score higher on standardized tests. This is often discarded as school budgets are cut. Music, art and theater programs are usually first on the chopping block. As a retired art and theater teacher, I can assure you that participation in the arts exercises a part of the brain not often used by regular classes. Creative problem solving broadens the range of thought processes one can employ and apply to everyday life. One of the most delightful days I spent during a partnering exercise between our school and IBM was teaching a workshop to IBM executives on learning to draw and expanding thought processes into the right side of the brain. By using some quick exercises as an introduction to right brain thinking, many of them made the leap and were drawing in one day. Just imagine how smart a lifetime of involvement with the arts could make us! Those of us involved at 2nd Star cross all professions. You have seen stay at home moms/dads, rocket scientists, teachers, construction workers, office personnel, doctors, engineers and many others, but most gratefully, students perform on our stage. Solving the logistics of the production and dynamics of the group is a common concern. It’s a magical life. One of 2nd Star’s first logos was a sandbox, a place where you can come and play, bringing your own toys or building what you need when you get there. It’s a place where we build our magnificent sand castles together.
A production takes a lot of work and talent both on the stage and behind the scenes. Magic only appears to happen. If you have a hankering to help it along, let us know. Remember to keep the kids involved at their level and that patrons are a vital part of the process. It is, of course, live theater!
–Jane B. Wingard
Photos provided by 2nd Star Productions
- Cinderella: Pam Shilling
- Prince: John Scheeler
- Joy: Lisa Gregg
- Portia: Malarie Novotny
- Step Mother: Heidi Toll
- King: Wendell Holland
- Queen: Linda Swann
- Fairy Godmother: Debe Tighe
- Herald: Zac Fadler
- Herald: Michael Mathes
- Footman: Todd Cunningham
- Chorus: Angeleaza Anderson, Robyn Birch, Nick Brice, Victoria Brown, Genevieve Ethridge, Emily Freeman, Yolanda Haywood, Amy Homewood, Cheramie Jackson, Creedence Jackson, Bridget Kane, Erin Lorenz, Stevie Mangum, Jonathon Moss, Shenna Ross, Cecelia (CeCe) Shilling, Janice Taylor, Jeffrey Thompson, Noah Wingard, Vivian Wingard.
- Musical Director/Conductor: Joe Biddle
- Flute: Steve Haaser, Mari Hill, Shannyn Peterson
- Oboe/English Horn: Mary Haaser
- Clarinet: Mike Monda
- Trumpet: Tim Spencer, Alexander Edwards
- French Horn: Andrew Seacord
- Drums: Brian Yost, Jim Hoffman
- Percussion: Zachary Konick
- Midi Sequencing and Performance: Steve Hudgins
- Director/Producer/Set Designer: Jane B. Wingard
- Music Director: Joe Biddle
- Assistant Music Director: Steve Hudgins
- Choreographer: Vicki Smith
- Dance Captain: Vivian Wingard
- Rehearsal Piano Tracks: Elisa Poole
- Stage Manager/Properties: Joanne D. Wilson
- Scenic Artists: Bill Bagaria, Gail Bagaria
- Set Construction: Steve Andrews, Joanne D. Wilson, Jane B. Wingard
- Lighting/Sound Design: Garrett R. Hyde
- Lighting/Sound Technician: Pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder
- Costume Coordinator: Linda Swann
- Load In Crew: Garrett R. Hyde, Pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Duane Rouch, Jane B. Wingard, Joanne D. Wilson, Steve Andrews, Matt Andrews, Bill Davis, Stevie Mangum, Dick Russell, Marty Hayes, Gail Bagaria, Bill Bagaria
- Publicity: Debe Tighe, Beth Schultz, Jane B. Wingard
- Webmaster: Lynne Wilson
- House Manager: Gail Bagaria
- Usher Coordinator: Gail Bagaria
- Reservations: Patti Mangum, Adele Degnan, Jane B. Wingard
- Box Office: Gail Bagaria
- Photography: Debe Tighe, Pete Freimayer
- Program: Lynne Wilson
Disclaimer: 2nd Star Productions provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6935.
Betsy Marks Delaney is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.