Children take over Dixie stage for 'Cinderella'
By Karen Hall
There are usually some children in every show at the Dixie, but for this weekend's "Disney Cinderella Kids," the cast is ALL children. Many are making their debut at the Dixie, but they all do a great job with this musical. Children from grades three through seven play all the parts, from helpful mice to wicked stepmother.
"Happily ever after, that's the most important line of the show," said Co-Director Allison Mulliniks as she discussed the dress rehearsal with her young cast Monday night. The children are learning everything about being in a play, from acting their parts to making entrances and exits and taking care of their costumes.
"Do we have a place for mouse ears?" asked Mulliniks as she cautioned the group to put their costumes and props away neatly.
"Disney Cinderella Kids" is an adaptation for the stage of Disney's classic animated film, "Cinderella" (1950). It's perfect for a large cast of boys and girls. There are four excellent songs, "The Tale of Cinderella," "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," "The Work Song," and the classic, Oscar-nominated "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," and some jolly dancing. The Prince and Cinderella's dance at the ball is particularly well done.
Jenna Grace Hill and Brantley Hollingsworth enjoy themselves as the wicked stepsisters, aided and abetted by their horrid mother Caroline Bailey. J.W. Beasley is a real catch as Prince Charming. The mice who help Cinderella are all cute, and the four town criers and four narrators do an excellent job.
Mulliniks' co-director is Nick Phillips, more often seen at the Dixie on the other side of the footlights (he was Growltiger in "Cats"). The musical director is Rachel Jeter, and the choreographer was Madeline Lewis, who said they have been rehearsing for about two months, and she's really enjoyed working with all the children.
This production is not just a learning experience for the children, being put on for friends and family members -- it's a real performance. So if you want to step away from drama and violence on TV or in the movies for one night, go to the Dixie this weekend and enjoy a trip back to a simpler time and place, where a story can really end with, "And they lived happily ever after."
Performances are Friday, Saturday, and Monday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The box office opens one hour before curtain time.