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Wilsonville High School's production of 'Cinderella' gives modern twist to classic fairy tale

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Cinderella cast members perform a scene during the first full run-through of the production. Wilsonville High School's production of "Cinderella" opens in just two weeks.

The Performing Arts Department will present Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical retelling of the classic fairy tale.

The version brings together "classic fairy tale tone with modern storytelling and modern underlying themes," said Samantha Katz, who plays Cinderella. Katz, a senior, has been involved in productions throughout high school, but said this is her first musical lead.

"The original Cinderella tale is very much like she just meets the prince and falls in love, whereas in this, she's actually trying to do good and spread kindness throughout the kingdom," said Katie Walter, who plays Cinderella's stepmother, Madame.

"I think this one is a lot better in its story and its message to young girls as far as what a princess can be."

"There's something for all audiences," said Mikaela Ochocki, who plays a stepsister. "Little girls get the princesses and dancing. ... But the older audiences have to look and think 'Oh, what am I doing that's not equality for my kingdom, no matter how big or small it may be.'"

Ochocki and Averyl Hartje play the two stepsisters, Gabrielle and Charlotte.

"I've been playing a lot of dramatic character roles recently, and so this character was the total opposite of that, super comedic, super over-the-top ... which was just a fun challenge for me to take on," Hartje said.

All the leads identified scenes that they enjoyed the most and that were the most challenging. Often, those two were the same.

Playing the evil stepmother is Walter's first role as the true antagonist of the story, but this version of "Cinderella" gives more depth to the characters.


f you go

What: Wilsonville High School's production of "Cinderella"

When: 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 7-9 and 14-16

Cost: $12 adults, $10 students and children Tickets can be pre-purchased at

A fight between the stepmother and one of her daughters is Walter's favorite scene. "It's the part where I really get to dig into why I am the way I am, and getting to understand how much anger I'm really holding onto," she said.

"While it's not a very fun scene to do, it's still one of my favorites because I think it gets to the heart of theater: expanding the human experience."

Prince Topher is played by Ari Lauthner, who said the most challenging scene is an extended dance where one song leads into the next.

"It's very rigorous because there's lots of lifts and turns and very specific movement," Katz said. "And during that, our job is to drive the plot forward," Lauthner added.

The production is directed by Jason Katz, who has been directing Wilsonville's musicals since his daughter, Samantha Katz, was 2 years old.

Selecting a play is a matter of knowing what productions the department has done recently and who is ready for a role.

"We always seem to have a lot of really talented girls, and so I'm kind of always on the lookout for musicals that highlight female performers," Jason Katz said. "We have great guys, too, but never as many."

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