Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) has been innovative with both classic and contemporary tales many times in its storied history. Producing Artistic Director Scot Copeland’s dramatization of the beloved “Cinderella” that runs Thursday through Feb. 7 promises to be another great example of the special magic NCT creates for even the best-known classic tales.
An affectionate throwback to the early tradition of American theater for young audiences, NCT’s sparkling new confection brims with the humor, wonder and spectacular theatrical effects for which this top-tier troupe is celebrated. All the iconic elements are present – the hilarious step-sisters, wise fairy godmother, amazing transformations, delicate pumpkin coach, the ball gown, a handsome Prince, the striking clock, a desperate flight and, of course, a delicate glass slipper left behind in the snow.
“Our century-old roots were heavily influenced by the British “Panto” tradition of fairy tales (particularly Cinderella),” says Copeland, “presented onstage with two-dimensional wing-and-drop spectacle, classic theatrical stage magic, and a burlesqued, self-commenting strain of humor that has also influenced 20th Century comic icons from (Charles) Chaplin to (Monty) Python. We’ve set the piece in a world not unlike late 19th century Austria, because we were interested in that period of fashion (after all, it’s all about the dress) and the Viennese waltz music of Johann Strauss (after all, it’s all about the dance). It’s a grand, romantic setting for a grand, romantic story.”
The cast directed by Copeland is led by Rosemary Fossee, last seen on NCT’s stage as young Meg Murray in the critically acclaimed “A Wrinkle in Time,” as the mistreated Cinderella. Matthew Rosenbaum will be on hand to make sure the shoe fits as Prince Leopold and Rona Carter appears as Cinderella’s magical Godmother. Jamie Farmer and Jennifer Richmond are the hilariously awful stepsisters, Tisbe and Clarenda, and Bobby Wyckoff appears as King Otto. Frequent NCT collaborators Shawn Knight and Eric D. Pasto-Crosby (the latter is also the show’s fight director) are on hand as Baron Rupert and Archduke Ludwig, respectively.
Copeland and cast are complemented by NCT’s sterling team of artists and artisans – set and lighting designs are by Scott Leathers; costume design by Patricia Taber; choreography by Pam Atha; sound design by Dan Brewer; and projection design by Colin Peterson.
A preview performance starts Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at a discounted rate of $7 per child and $15 per adult.
Ticket holders may also buy tickets for “Before the Ball,” a frosty fairy tale event featuring a light lunch fit for a Royal Tea, Cinderella-themed crafts, and hot chocolate and apple cider. “Before the Ball” tea parties are on Sunday, Jan. 31, and Sunday, Feb. 7, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Tickets for the pre-show event are $20.
School performances are weekdays at 10 and 11:45 a.m. Weekend performances are open to the public, scheduled at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays Jan. 17 through Feb. 7. Reservations are recommended. There is no Saturday performance on Jan. 16. Individual weekend ticket prices are $15 per child (ages 2 to 17), $20 per adult; group, senior, educator, and military discounts are also available. A home-school performance is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and a sign-interpreted performance is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m.
A sensory-friendly performance is available Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. This performance is open to the public and is designed to be a safe and accepting environment where children with disabilities and their typically developing peers are free to speak and move in reaction to the story being told onstage. For all performances NCT provides a Comfort Room in the back of the theater where audience members can always adjust both light and sound levels.
To purchase tickets online please click here; patrons can call the NCT box office at (615) 252-4675 Tuesdays – Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
*Photo of Rosemary Fossee as Cinderella by Colin Peterson courtesy Nashville Children’s Theatre.