At the June 6 dress rehearsal for Roberta Jones Junior Theatre (RJJT) at the Community Recreation Center, 46 young cast members and 14 youths serving in the technical crew put on an enchanting performance of Disney’s “Cinderella Kids.” The half-an-hour show portrayed the timeless tale of a girl who overcomes obstacles and wins her prince. The tale of Cinderella has been told around the world and depicted through various mediums in pop culture, but RJJT breathed fresh air into this familiar story by allowing children, ages 8 to 15, to tell it. The show ran June 7-9.
“It has been an interesting time watching the kids grow and make character choices for even the smallest of parts so the show will have depth,” observed Norah Havlice, 16, Assistant to the Choreographer, Director and Vocal Director. “The kids took the time to figure out the smallest details. They even decided on a name for their character, even if their character is not named in the show.”
Emily Wardlow, 14, was ecstatic to play the Fairy Godmother.
“I knew the Fairy Godmother had to be fancy, mystical and magical,” Wardlow said of the acting choices she made. “I tried to incorporate a lot of that into my movements, to be flamboyant and airy to keep the magic alive. When I sang ‘Bibbidi-Bobiddi-Boo,’ I interacted with the Mice and I tried to use the way I talk and the way I say things in the song.”
Rowan Biesemeyer, 12, initially wanted to play one of the mean stepsisters. But she landed the role of Cinderella instead and fell in love with her role.
“I wanted to show that Cinderella is a bubbly character, and that she is never not up for a challenge,” Biesemeyer said of her acting choices. “For example, she is not afraid of the Mice, who are her friends. When she is at the center of attention at the ball, she feels comfortable with it and shows her outgoing personality. She is always open to helping her Mice friends. I wanted to make her character a loving character. I want to inspire little kids to be kind to others and also respect others as well.
“A lot of Cinderella stories are told by adults and it’s fun that we get to tell this story as children,” Biesemeyer continued. “I also think it’s a very child-friendly version of the Cinderella story. In the original Cinderella, it’s more gruesome in that the stepsisters’ heels get cut off with knives so they can fit into the glass slipper. In this version, the stepsisters’ feet simply don’t fit the slipper. This play is a lot shorter than other plays so kids can come and see what this story is about in 30 minutes.”