BY CHRISTINE LEE
POTTSVILLE — The glass slipper will fit Cinderella’s foot, but she won’t be able to kiss her prince in the upcoming musical at Pottsville Area High School.
A year after the coronavirus pandemic canceled their spring musical, the Crimson Players will perform the musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23-25, in the high school auditorium. It is directed by Maria Malek.
At rehearsals on April 12, the two leads said they are excited to be back on stage. Julia Malek, who plays the title character, is fulfilling a longtime dream of playing a lead in a Pottsville Area High School musical.
“I’ve been watching them since I was little,” the 18-year old senior from Pottsville said.
Logan Miscannon, who plays Prince Topher, said it feels “surreal” to be on stage after more than a year. Putting on the show, he said, is a way of showing the community the Crimson Players are back.
“As a performer, my goal is to bring happiness, and that’s especially needed during this pandemic,” the 17-year old junior, also from Pottsville, said.
Physical contact among the 25 students in the musical will be limited. That means Julia Malek and Miscannon won’t kiss during the show, but will instead “lean in” to appear that they are smooching, the director said.
They will wear plastic masks during performances and a limited number of students will be allowed in dressing rooms.
In fact, effects of the pandemic continue to impact the production. Student quarantines have already delayed the performance by a week, and if there is another COVID-19 delay, the musical will be presented May 21-23. Tickets already purchased will be honored.
Based on a French folk tale about a young woman forced into servitude by a wicked stepmother who meets a handsome prince, “Cinderella” is based on the 2013 Broadway production.
In that version, Maria Malek said, Cinderella isn’t helpless and the prince is a “rounder character” than previous versions. The titular character also shows him the injustices in his kingdom.
The director said rehearsing hasn’t always been easy, with limited days and students having to quarantine as a result of the virus. When they do rehearse, cast members are in small groups, she added.
Julia Malek, Maria’s daughter, said the show is “absolutely beautiful” and “so funny.”
“It’s not the Disney Cinderella,” she said, referring to the 1950 animated movie.
Other main cast members are Sam Keglovitz, who plays the Fairy Godmother; Zoe Holden, playing Cinderella’s stepmother; Meg Burns, portraying the stepsister Gabrielle; Lily McDonald, portraying the stepsister Charlotte; and Jake Montgomery, who plays the regent, Sebastian.
Attendance at each of the three performances is limited to 350 people in the 1,399-seat auditorium.
The audience will be spaced and must wear face masks for the entire show. There will be hand sanitizer stations near all entrances.
There will be a 15-minute intermission, but without concessions.
A video recording of one of the performances will be offered next week. Tickets are available on the high school website or by calling 570-621-2962. Anyone with questions about tickets is asked to contact Maria Malek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria Malek said the musical is normally performed in March, but was pushed to back April under the assumption that more people would be vaccinated and able to attend.
Back for a ‘last hurrah’
Last March, the Crimson Players were set to perform the Claude-Michel Schönberg “The Pirate Queen,” but the pandemic forced its cancellation.
Having directed the school’s musicals for 18 years, Maria Malek said bringing the musical to life this year brings her joy.
“We all feel the loss of last year’s show very keenly, but our group this year is so enthusiastic and dedicated to bringing the joy of the story of Cinderella to their friends and family and they are so excited to be back on stage,” she said.
Julia Malek said while it was disappointing to not be able to perform as the lead role of Grace O’Malley in “The Pirate Queen,” putting on “Cinderella” has brought her a lot of joy.
“It will be great to have that last hurrah,” she said.
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