Cinderella: Performed by Insipre School of Arts & Sciences

Cinderella: Performed by Insipre School of Arts & Sciences

Five years ago, a new high school was opened in Chico: Inspire School of Arts and Sciences – a school, whose name would, in a short while, become one of outstanding renown and stature throughout our community through its spellbinding theatrics. Inspire has set a standard, not only for community high school shows, but for full-scale productions at the pre-professional level. Starting with one musical, The Wizard of Oz their first year, Inspire has staged: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Brigadoon, You Can’t Take It with You, Chicago, As You Like It, & White Christmas in succeeding years, as well as a plethora of showcases highlighting each of their other artistic departments. And the magic behind all of this? Each and every one of their near sixty productions has been student driven through acting, producing, designing, performing, crewing, and advertising. These talented students are guided and mentored by professional adult guest artists and the passionate teachers of Inspire.
One of these inspiring adults is dance and technical theatre instructor, Jarrah Myles, and director of Inspire’s outstanding musical productions. After the school’s recent triumph with their post-apocalyptic staging of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, all have been waiting in anticipation for the musical, which Myles had announced auditions for at the end of the prior show’s run: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA!
At a young age, Myles became enchanted with the charming tale of Cinderella, particularly in the form of Hilary Knight’s illustrated children’s book, so much so, that her entire vision of the production has been fueled by these whimsical pictures, as well as by court life in Restoration era France. “The script serves as a basic outline, which allows for a lot of creative freedom and interpretation,” Myles stated. “The students will be researching and exploring 1830s France; this will serve as a stepping off point for designs and character development for a show intended for children of all ages.”
Due to these many possible creative liberties, the sheer magnitude of this production cannot go overstated. The ambition of the director, music instructors, and students goes unparalleled. In the first cast rehearsal, faces were aglow in enthusiasm. “We began with a dramaturge presentation that would inform and inspire everyone involved with the world of the play we are creating,” stated Myles. The success of Inspire’s shows are never taken for granted, and the dedication of every member is clear from the start. Professionalism is of the essence in the theatrical industry, and there is no shortage of understanding of that from all members of the cast and crew.
The maturity of the students is magnified by the true sense of community that is built and reinforced by these young artists. “It’s going to be a family,” says Maddy Copper, Stepmother in the upcoming production, as she comments on what she looks forward to most. The theatre world takes a collaboration of minds and talents to bring a story alive to an audience filled of the curious. “The whole school is pulling together to create this magical show,” says student Stage Manager, Pepper Saint Clair. “We have also cast the children of the Inspire staff members to add a new dimension – working with a cast of all ages.” The production features not only the magic of a talented and one of a kind cast, but also the clear dedication of a student production and design team: designing, constructing, sewing, researching, and painting every inch of the show’s costumes, hair and makeup, elaborate front of house, props, lights, sounds, and set! “I’m just happy to help create the magic,” comments Ashbrooke Hinkle, student Head Costumer. And magic there shall be!
Over one hundred students are involved in the production, ranging from playing violin, selling fancy fans in the front of house, to flipping on stage; even the jugglers do their bit! Each of these dedicated adolescents has made the commitment of working long hours after school during the quick, seven week intensive rehearsal process. The cast and crew of the show are all working together to help bring each other up exponentially, and through this practice of respect, the show will truly pull together and cement an already glimmering production.
Inspire will be doing six presentations of the show over two weekends and two fieldtrip performances just for children. Inspire’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstien’s, Cinderella, will open 2/27 at 7PM, with additional performances: 2/28, 3/5, 3/6, & 3/7 at 7PM with a matinee 3/8 at 2PM. For more information and tickets, visit the Inspire website www.inspirecusd.org, call the office, (530) 891-3090, or join us on Facebook – Inspire Happenings: CinderellaAtInspire.
Article by: Alex Hilsee, student dramaturge and scenic artist, & Lucy Sandoe, student director

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