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Actors Guild of Parkersburg ready to have a ball with ‘Cinderella’

PARKERSBURG — “Cinderella” opens at 8 p.m. Friday at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg where a special sensory-sensitive performance has been scheduled for the first time.

The production is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical about Cinderella, a young girl forced into servitude by her cold-hearted stepmother and homely stepsisters who abandon her and go to the royal ball where the prince will look for a bride.

Cinderella’s fairy godmother comes to her aid and transforms a pumpkin, mice, a raccoon and a squirrel into a carriage and coachmen to take her to the dance where the prince falls in love with her. But the magical spell is broken at midnight and Cinderella flees the dance, starting a kingdom-wide search by the prince to find the unknown maiden.

“Cinderella” was written in the late 1950s with Julie Andrews playing the lead, Director David Grande said.

“What’s interesting is Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote it specifically for television,” he said.

Prince Topher dances with Cinderella at the royal ball where he is looking for a bride. “Cinderella” opens at 8 p.m. Friday at the Parkersburg Actors Guild. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

More than 100 million people watched it on television at a time when there were only 68 million TV sets in the nation, Grande said. Andrew’s fortune as an actress and singer grew and included the “Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins.”

“Cinderella” will be presented 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Aug. 12, 13, 19 and 20, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 21 and 6 p.m. Aug. 14. The special performance for individuals with special needs will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 13.

“This will be the first such performance the Actors Guild has had for these individuals,” Grande said. “We will employ COVID protocol seating, will leave the audience lights up to allow those attending to come and go as they please and we’ll be providing a televised video in the lobby to watch as well. We will also adapt our lighting and stage magic for this audience.”

Tickets are $8 for the special performance on Aug. 13. All other tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students and seniors and are available at www.actors-guild.com.

Among the performers are Ashley Fluharty as Cinderella, Tanner Barker as Prince Topher, Barbara Full as Marie the fairy godmother, Danny Bayer as Sebastian, Conner Medendorp as Jean-Michel, George Litman as Lord Pinkleton, Olivia Parsons as Madame, Klaire (Ket) Perkins as Charlotte and Chloe Rader as Gabriele.

From left, Lord Pinkleton played by George Litman takes dictation from Sebastian played by Danny Bayer for the royal ball where Prince Topher hopes to find a maiden to be his wife in the Actors Guild production of “Cinderella.” (Photo by Jess Mancini)

“I’m very excited,” Fluharty said. “I would take any chance to be a princess I can get.”

The wardrobe changes and the style of music were a challenge for Fluharty, who said she was more accustomed to pop music styles in shows.

“This music is very choral,” she said.

“Cinderella” has more dancing than most Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, Grande said. Lori Ullman is the choreographer.

“She can make even a left-footed dancer like me look good,” he said.

Marie played by Barbara Full surprises Cinderella to be her fairy godmother in “Cinderella,” the Actors Guild show opening at 8 p.m. Friday. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

The ensemble is Mollie Bleakley, Gretchen Dowler, Daphne Cockerham, Staci Mendendorp, Karly Hunt, Katie Riggs, Allison Bennett, Grace Miller, Kaelin Seebaugh, Isaac Pennington, Mollie Smith, Lucy Barker, Ana Bennett, Eisley Adams-Morrison, Jerrell Barnes and Tim Tuten.

In addition to Ullman and Grande, Peter Sour is musical director, John Gradwohl is technical director, Jane Mancini is assistant director, Marsha Mueller is stage manager and props, Linda Craig is the costumer, Liam Grande is lighting designer and Gwen Sour is on sound.

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