Reagan’s 2018 musical, Cinderella, charmed the audience with sprinkled humor, impressive vocals, and a story exhibiting the magic of love we all want to believe in. Carrie Baker (theater director), Erica Breitbarth (musical director), and other contributors put on a “contemporary twist on the classical story” the weekend of January 19-21.
Ella, or Cinderella (as nicknamed by her evil step-mother), lives a life of mistreatment from her entitled kin. An evil attitude may have helped them in the past, but word spread of great news: “The prince is having a ball!” As a young man unsure of where to go, what to do, and whom to associate with, Prince Topher seems to let other people make his decisions for him, until he is tasked to dance with every eligible girl in the town with the intent of choosing his future queen. Against all odds but so clearly meant to be, Prince Topher and Cinderella’s worlds collide with a little help from magic and hope. Lauren Barta, playing the lead role, Ella, stunned the audience with her vocal talent. Never before seen as a main character on the Winter musical stage, the first melodies she sang made me fall in love with her voice. Paired with the charming vocals of Elijah Wall’s Prince Topher, the two made a strong starring couple. Both Barta and Wall complemented rather than overshadowed each other, and successfully intertwined their abilities to act, sing, and be on stage.
My favorite part of Alexis Nungaray’s (Marie) performance was the surprising range she displayed in her vocals. The audience, on the last note she released in ‘It’s Possible’, leaned back in their chairs with amazement in complete unison——an entertaining sight to see in one of the back rows of the auditorium.
Another stronger character of the cast was the step-mother (played by Jazmine Reyes). She was by far the most comedic, bringing life to the show with her powerful stage presence and downright solid performance ability. It was her, I found in the end, that brought a sense of reality to the show as a whole. Kaycee Lang and Alanna Bielawski played perfectly contrasting sisters as well, telling their own stories along with Cinderella’s. Julia Matiszik’s (Lord Pinkleton) stage presence was praised from both myself and my company, receiving frequent comments like, and I quote, “She looks like a boss up there.” Christian Griffin (Sebastian), though difficult to understand at times, was comedic and a pleasure to watch as well. I have the same criticisms for this musical as I did for the last year’s, ‘The Addams Family’: the ensemble. I understand the need for a large enough cast to act as the common people of the town, but there is a thin line between ‘just enough’ and ‘too many’, and I believe it was crossed. The stage often times looked uncomfortably crowded to the point where finding the speaker was an effort——one I shouldn’t have had to make. The Racoon and the Fox were a cute touch and a generally nice theatrical element to the show, but also a distracting factor. Acting as Ella’s unseen confidants, these characters occasionally attempted to tell their own stories while their mission was to assist in telling Ella’s. Stage presence is not the same becoming the focal point.
One of the most interesting aspects of the show, in my opinion, was the music. The Pit Orchestra showcased both Reagan talents and guest musicians. Together, the live music they created influenced the magical effect the audience experienced while invested in the story of the prince and his bride-to-be. ‘In My Own Little Corner’ is an example of music well-deserving of applause for both Barta and the accompaniment. Breitbarth, yet again, brings her undeniable talents to the Reagan stage.
For anyone who hasn’t seen a Reagan musical before, make sure to attend next year’s performance… (whatever it may be!)
The Cast of Cinderella - Lauren Barta, Elijah Wall, Alexis Nungaray, Jazmin Reyes, Kaycee Lang, Alanna Bielawski, Julia Matiszik, Christian Griffin, Deacon Leer, Kirstin Hackbarth, Anna Rasmussen, Mr. Nic Onorato, R’mariana Cade, Gabriella Casas, Hanah Galvan, Demaris Rodriguez, Regis Brown, Neil Bausch, Sam Martinez, Jackson McCoy, Mauricio Perez, Matthew Voith, Greenleaf Baker, Valerie Bausch, Helena Cannistra, Michelle Casas, Katie Gillingham, Alejandra Gonzalez, Lily Haasl, Kiley Ledger, Elysium Morss, Annika Potter, Aida Reyes, Elizabeth Simon, Raven Thompson, Ariana Veloz, Serenity Yang, Rihana Zaiani Crew and Student Directors Cecilia Cabrera, Juliana Gessner, Sophie Johanneck, Oscar Picazo, Chloe Weithofer, Elaine Cholakova, Ethan Nepper, Miguel Ramirez, Melani Santos, Gabrielle Vitrano, Alexa Wasielewski, Brenden McLaughlin Haralson, Jasmine Gomez, Victoria Rodriguez, Lauren O’Hear, Madi Larsh, Natalie Claas, Kyra Fetherston, Francini Retana Gomez, Clara Knitter, Ka Bao Lee