OPENS TONIGHT: Saxe students infuse magic into classic musical
DARIEN — A little bit of magic is coming to Saxe Middle School.
After months of singing, dancing and line memorization, seventh- and eighth-graders from Saxe are presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” onstage at New Canaan High School this weekend.
Despite the show being a well-known classic, the students are breathing new life into the story. Megan Lydon, 13, is playing the Fairy Godmother who doubles as a matchmaker, secretly driving Cinderella and the Prince together.
“It’s very similar to Disney, but she has more of a chance to show herself,” the eighth-grader said. “The way (Director Lauren Sherwood Blank) has it, she controls the show and I like that.”
And while Cinderella might be seen as a “damsel in distress,” seventh- grader Chloe Smith is playing a princess so empowering that her young neighbor wants to see the show because she views the character like a role model.
“Cinderella’s very different,” the 13-year-old said. “The stepmother gets her so riled up, like a soda bottle with a cap on it, but she has to keep herself restrained.”
See the show
“Cinderella” will take place at the New Canaan High School auditorium on March 31 at 7 p.m. and April 1 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $12 each and available at www.saxeptc.org and for purchase in person one hour before the show.
“It has a good message that even though you’re getting pushed around, you can stand up for yourself,” she added. “It’s inspirational.”
The characters playing the royal family add an additional layer of zany fun to the show. Whereas the king and prince are more apathetic, the queen is a flustered woman, anxious to get her son married off, causing friction between the two of them.
“Everyone around him is pretty abnormal,” said 14-year-old William Haddad, who plays the prince. “My entire life they’ve been sheltering me. I don’t have much freedom, but I want to find my own love in my own time.”
“I’m a very overprotective and dramatic character,” said eighth-grader Ava Rucci, 14, of her character, the queen. “I host the ball, which is the biggest scene. It’s really fun.”
In the midst of all this is the prince’s father, the king, played by eighth-grader Jackson LaMorte.
“He’s very sarcastic and set apart from the rest of the royal family in that he’s not so involved,” said LaMorte, 14.
Not only has the show been coming to life with the details the students bring to the Rodgers and Hammerstein version but also with the development the students have been making as performers.
“They’re full of potential,” said the show’s musical director, Sarah Gleason. “It’s a young cast and the students aren’t all performers, but a lot want to be part of the show. Seeing them come together this way is cool.”
Both cast and crew members hope the community comes together to support the 60 middle school performers who’ve been working on the show since November.