Last weekend the Northampton Area High School Theatre Company put on four magical performances of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” with enchanting melodies, memorable characters and powerful themes of love, kindness, hope, morality and believing in yourself.

In the production’s playbill, Director Christine Marto references the talented cast, dedicated crew and exceptional pit orchestra, noting that the “countless hours of rehearsals, set construction, costume fittings and musical arrangements” fill her with immense pride as she reflected on the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the production.

From the romantic “Ten Minutes Ago” to the hopeful “In My Own Little Corner,” each song captured the essence of the characters and the emotional depth of the story as the cast, crew and pit orchestra brought the enchanting tale to life.

Ella, played by senior Rachel Kemmerer, is a wholesome and sweet girl that you can’t help but root for. Kemmerer’s role is thoughtfully approached and carefully crafted as she transforms Ella throughout the performance from someone unsure of who she is and her place in the world, to a confident young woman inspired by love and friendship despite attempts from her stepmother, Madame, to darken her light.

Upon learning he will become king soon, Prince Topher, played by senior Michael Seidick, is also unsure of who he is as he considers what kind of king he will be, but unlike Ella, he has a kingdom full of subjects to boost his confidence.

Lord Chancellor Sebastian, played by senior Will McMahon, takes advantage of the prince’s trust by taking land from the poor in the name of the prince. Nevertheless, the prince doesn’t know of Sebastian’s treachery, so he believes that he has his best interest at heart.

If there was one good thing that came from Sebastian’s meddling, it was his suggestion to throw a ball to find the prince a bride, which Prince Topher agrees to.

Madame, played by senior Karah Abarca, is fantastically unlikable, as both her role as Cinderella’s evil stepmother and stage presence demand to be seen and heard. Her selfish nature and inflated status make her a cutthroat adversary to all that get in the way of what she wants, so when she finds out the prince is throwing a ball to find a bride, she does everything she can to ensure that he chooses her daughter Gabrielle, played by junior Audrey Wood, whom she favors over her other daughter Charlotte.

However, Gabrielle has other plans as she crushes on Jean-Michel, played by Aidan Fincke, the revolutionary her mother despises who is set on protesting the kingdom’s corruption and unfairness toward the poor.

Charlotte, played by senior Sophia Davidick, would absolutely love to marry the prince, but her hilariously boisterous, bratty demeanor causes her to lose her chance with the prince.

After Madame and her stepsisters have left, Ella sings longingly about going to the ball and dancing with the prince when “crazy” Marie shows up. After Ella shares her dream with Marie, Marie, played by senior Rachel Moss, magically transforms into Cinderella’s fairy godmother and sings to her that nothing is impossible.

Right before your eyes, Marie transforms Ella’s dress turns into a beautiful white gown and then gives her shoes made of Venetian glass but warns her that the magic will wear off at the stroke of midnight.

At the ball, Ella descends the beautifully crafted palace stairs as everyone stares up at her and wonders who she is since everyone was required to wear a mask. The prince is no exception and falls head over heels for her as they dance the night away.

Cinderella was swept up in the moment, so when the clock chimed 12, she hurriedly left, afraid that the prince wouldn’t like her if he knew who she was, but as she ran out of the palace, she lost a shoe.

After he is unable to find her, Prince Topher tries the shoe on every maiden in the kingdom to find Cinderella until he eventually does.

In this adaptation, Cinderella ends up marrying the prince, but not before she introduces him to Jean-Michel who is finally able to speak with the prince about what has been going on in the kingdom, which infuriates the prince.

Prince Topher decides to hold an election for prime minister with Jean-Michel and Sebastian as the candidates, and Jean-Michel wins of course, which allows him to advise the soon-to-be-king on how to help the poor.

In all, Cinderella’s unwavering kindness throughout her performance portrayed the true meaning of the production, which Director Marto reveals: “I hope you are reminded of the importance of kindness in our own lives. In a world that can sometimes feel dark and daunting, let us be inspired by Cinderella’s example to extend a hand of kindness to those around us, knowing that even the smallest act of compassion can spark a chain reaction of goodness.”


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