Local Theater Arts Review: Carroll Community College’s Theater Goes on Tour

Usually, 3 to 6-year-olds aren’t the target audiences of an everyday college theater production. production. But at Carroll Community College (CCC) on Sept.7, children filled the seats of the Scott Center theater. These children and their parents were waiting for the production of Cinderella! Cinderella!, CCC’s 2013 Children’s show, to commence. Children’s song soundtracks played in the theater as  little girls and boys asked their parents when they would get to see Cinderella turn into a princess.

Written by the playwright Edith Weiss, Cinderella! Cinderella! strives to teach both children and adults the importance of having confidence and loving yourself. “CCC tries to do a children’s show every year. I was involved with Hyronomous A. Frog: The Frog Prince, last year,” said Jimmy Lantz who plays Lady Lotta Bon Bon, a town woman obsessed with obtaining a man in the show. Lantz is not a theater major at CCC, but enjoys performing in CCC’s theater productions. Lantz follows, “This particular show was put up five years ago but has been re-written by Weiss to stress the importance of being empowered not because of the love of a prince, but because of Cinderella’s love for herself.” CCC has yet to produce a children’s show not written by Weiss.

The show differs from the traditional story of Cinderella. There is no evil stepmother and Cinderella’s best friend, Tom the Cat, plays a significant part in helping Cinderella build her self esteem. A cast of eight carries the show with minimal props and costume changes but loads of energy and audience participation. The audience, in fact, were addressed as townspeople, and some girls in the audience were asked to try on the glass slipper when the time came for the prince to find his princess. Unfortunately, some hearts were broken and some tears shed by a young townsgirl who’s foot didn’t fit the shoe. The audience awed and chuckled. But the townsgirl did get her picture with the prince following the show.

“I love making [the children] laugh,” said Benjamin Hopkins, who plays Harold the Herald. “It’s fun to meet the kids after the show and interact with them.” All proceeds from the show will benefit the Carroll Community College’s Child Development Center.

The concept of a children’s show is not unique to CCC. McDaniel College and other higher education institutions put on these shows to educate and entertain younger generations. But Cinderella! Cinderella! won’t stop at just three performances in Scott Theater. The cast will tour off campus at various elementary schools throughout Maryland from Sept. 13 to Dec. 6. They will perform Cinderella! Cinderella! at a total of 21 schools including Westminster, Hampstead, and Taneytown elementary schools. They will also hold performances  in four libraries and the Westminster Montessori Fall Festival on Oct. 12.

“Going on tour counts as a three-credit internship for non-theater majors, which is really awesome and a fun way to get those credits,” said Joshua Busiere who plays Prince Charming. “It’s educational for the children and it is honestly a perk.” The cast is diverse, with only a few theater majors and even one nursing specialist. “It’s more like a community theater. People can audition from the community. We like variety,” said Amanda Fossett, theater major at CCC who plays one of the mean step sisters, Prunella.

CCC’s theater department will have three more productions following Cinderella! Cinderella! “Rehearsals for the next production Wonder of the World have already started,” said Fossett who has a leading role in the cast. That production will also be directed by Bill Gillett. Performances of The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare and Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, directed by John Moletress will follow for the remainder of the fall semester.

For more information and tickets visit http://www.carrollcc.edu/campus/theater/.