For the first time ever, the Apex High School theater, Peak Players, is performing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, a musical retelling of the timeless masterpiece, Cinderella. This production is lead by Mrs. Levine, lover of cats and graduate of Appalachian State University. Levine has been hard at work for the past two months, often staying after-school five to six days a week, sometimes staying until five in the afternoon to slowly but surely bring her project to perfection. Alongside Levine, Mrs. Copley is in charge of teaching the songs, and Mr. Jarvis is in charge of teaching the pit, a small orchestra that performs live for the musical. Please note this musical is based off of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and does not include certain elements of the Disney film, namely the magical talking animals.
Spanning roughly an hour and a half with three acts and a fifteen minute break, this performance does not waste time into getting quickly into the plot, already introducing the Fairy Godmother before the end of Act I. Throughout the show, there are musical scenes which felt outweighed by non-singing scenes, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Overall the actors and singers were fantastic, and they seemed to flow together very well in almost every scene but only when the spotlights allowed for it. In the first royal ball dance scene, there were parts where characters would lose synchronization and perform certain dance movements a second or two before or after someone else does. On the contrary, the best element of this musical was how alive it all felt, and even though I have seen this story told a million times, it managed to envelop me with amazing combinations of singing and live music. However, in saying this, the musical is no “reimaging” of Cinderella and does not add anything particularly special but still does well in what it sets out to achieve; creating a fun and enjoyable musical. The actual singing was spectacular, and many songs had a more operatic feel which was complimented very well by the pit musicians. The characters also seemed to have singing voices that fit their personality: the Queen, worried but strong, Cinderella, sad yet hopeful, and so on. In Act III, there is some really fun audience interaction with characters running around, wild noises, and some eccentric characters, a spectacular way to recapture audience engagement.
The costumes were not excessive or too simple; they were very similar to classic Cinderella clothes and in that sense, were generally nice and fun to look at especially when paired with the spectacular makeup the characters had. The evil step-sisters and step-mom were portrayed very well as the villains, but at the same time, they were the carriers of the comedy, and almost every scene they were in emitted a laugh from the audience whether it be from the more slapstick comedy of the step-sisters or the adult jokes presented by their step-mother. However, in two scenes, the step-mom was yelling or screaming while trying to carry out a normal conversation with someone five feet in front of her.
Overall, it was a very fun play that I recommend seeing. Personally, my favorite scene was the carriage transformation scene because it had an overall fun and happy vibe as well as some really interesting costume changes. This musical was not revolutionary, but it still was so much fun to watch, especially if you love musicals. This musical will have three live performances from March 1 to March 3, 7:00-9:00 PM, and you can get your tickets here or at the door!