'Cinderella' this weekend

By: 
Editor Stephanie Ferriell

The Washington County Children’s Theatre turns 25 this year and the organization is marking the occasion with a production worthy of the milestone. “Cinderella” opened last night and continues today and tomorrow. “Cinderella” is presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals. Music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.Performances are in the East Washington Performing Arts Center Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10/adults, $8/students and seniors with children 4 and under admitted free. Those dressed as a prince or princess will be entered into a prize drawing.
The children’s theatre was known in years past for its large productions, some with casts of up to 100. Daniel Main, who has served as director since the program’s inception, said after a series of  large shows, the theatre moved in a different direction. “We started breaking it down to do more productions with smaller groups,” he said.
Main’s wife, Charity, has long been involved in local theatre and he said it was her idea “to do a big one like we used to do.”
Main said the children’s theatre is extremely appreciative to the Washington County Community Foundation for a $7,800 grant. Main said royalties for the show are very expensive and building the set and making costumes is costly as well. “We are very grateful to the foundation,” he said. “With sets, costuming and special effects, we will spend it.”
 The lead roles of Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother will be double cast. Amelia Hendricks and Bekah Paul will play Cinderella while Madelyn Moore and Torrance Davis will split the Fairy Godmother role.
There are about 70 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the show. Rehearsals have been underway for six weeks.
Main is  a big believer in extracurricular activities, saying they provide an avenue for kids to discover hidden talents. “Not just theater, but any extracurricular that teaches teamwork and the building of skill sets, whether pertaining to sports or the arts,” he said. “Anywhere a kid can find a way to build those, that’s important.”
He recalled that, 25 years ago, Larry Hollan was president of Washington County Actors Community Theatre and the group decided to start a children’s theatre. “He said, ‘Daniel, I think you’re the perfect person to do this!’ I had no clue what I was doing. Larry helped me the first couple of times.”
Main said his more than two decades of working with local young people has been very rewarding and he’s pleased that several have pursued careers in the theater arts and that he’s had the opportunity to help many others develop self-confidence and poise. As far as how many local children have been impacted by the local theatre, he said, “I couldn’t tell you how many hundreds of kids have come through it.”
Main became involved in theater as a Salem High School sophomore when Richard Trueblood encouraged him to audition for “Westside Story.”
“It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, not only the performance, but that particular group of people – I knew these were my people! I just fell in love not only with theater and music and acting, but the entire experience from beginning to end. From that first show I was hooked and I haven’t stopped since.”
Main promises “Cinderella” will delight audiences of all ages. The show is the Rodgers & Hammerstein version. “Audiences can expect to be surprised by the quality of the production that a group of young people in a small community can put on,” he said.

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