Cinderella to open Friday

Cooperative Drama Program’s ‘Cinderella’ opens on Friday, April 21

Posted by Ken Grabowski on April 17th, 2017

ONEKAMA — When a musical has the names of legendary composers and lyricists Rodgers and Hammerstein attached to it, you know it is going to be a quality show. The same thoughts can also be attached to a production that is put on by the Cooperative Drama Program of Bear Lake, Kaleva Norman Dickson and Onekama schools.

This weekend will feature the drama program’s presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” The show will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Onekama School cafetorium  and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Bear Lake teacher Amanda Harthun and retired teacher Kathy Joseph are once again serving as directors of the production. Serving as choreographer of the show will be Karen Storms-Rohm.

Harthun said she has a hard time believing more than a decade has passed since the three schools entered into this successful cooperative venture.

“This year will be our 11th show,” said Harthun. “We are still inspired and in awe at how a little dream lit a spark that turned into this program.”

Memorable past shows have included Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”, “The Wizard of Oz,” “Annie,” “Willy Wonka,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Grease,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Seussical.”

The cast for “Cinderella” is a strong one filled with many individuals who have appeared in several previous shows.

Taking on lead roles in “Cinderella” are Maci Podbilski (Ella), Jared Sarinopoulos/Johnathan Wertheimer (Prince Topher), Trevor Eisenlohr (Lord Pinkleton), Jacob Fitch (Sebastian), McKenna Ingalls (Madame), Faith Kidd (Charlotte), Alliyah Torrey (Gabrielle), Kassie Hook (Marie), Luca Leffew (Jean-Mitchell), Noah Sutton (Footman) and Josh Feyers (Coachman).

One thing that has been a trademark of the Cooperative Drama Program for the past 11 years has been the way they find a place on stage for all of those who want to be a part of the experience. Throughout the years students have started out as members of the chorus or other non-speaking roles and then gradually moved up into starring roles.

“We draft a list of cast members we know will be returning, and also make a list of who we think might be joining the show,” said Harthun. “We ultimately try to choose a show that will have enough parts for our interested cast members, and that will fit some of the personalities in the cast.”

Serving as Ladies of the Court are Erica Blattner, Leah Nelson, Bella Leffew, Daisa Fowler, Rhiannon Cordes, Sam Bush and Devon Edmondson. Gents of the Court are going to be played by Olav Harstad, Avery Mullet, Feyers, Angel Aguilar and Sutton.

That same group will be joined by Jenna Bromley, Bren Lopez, Meridee Gutowski, Paige Gutowski, Emma Reynolds, Taylor Merrill in taking on the roles of townspeople. Serving as knights will be Mullet, Harstad, Feyers, Aguilar, Sutton and Lopez.

Since “Cinderella” is a musical, the show will once again be using a live orchestra consisting of Storms-Rohm, Joseph, Spalding, Joyce Brenner, Larry Babcock and Bob Brenner.

Stage manager for the production is Katelyn Feil and the backstage crew she will be guiding includes Ajah Fink, Margaret Erin Smith, Katie Magnan, Sara Bromley, Cadence Miller, Devon Selders, David Thalman, Chris Millard, Ian Weaver, Kollin Cook and Kirsten Erts. Sound and lights will be handled by Paul Cunningham, Richard Smith and Margaret Smith.

Other behind the scenes work in costume design came from Susan Bernard, Jody Guerne, Leah Cordes and Kathryn Mathieu. Set design and construction has been handled by Dave Smeltzer, Scott Feil, Paul Cunningham, Kelly Gydesen and Katelyn Feil. Props are being taken care of by Jeff Harthun, Dave Smeltzer, Byron Joseph and Trevor Eisenlohr.

Amanda Harthun said something that has been a key to the success of the program is that dedicated group volunteers. Some began when their children were in the play, and they have continued even after they have graduated.

“We love our volunteers and are so thankful for the time and energy they put into our show and into mentoring our children,” said Harthun. “We are all here for the same reason — the kids. We have had a strong team of stage dads helping out in the past that have been great mentors as well as an active group of mothers and now show alumni that donate large amounts of time to our program.”