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A Magical Staging of a Musical Classic : Drama: Community theater's 'Cinderella' meets the daunting technical challenges with volunteer spirit.

March 23, 1995|SUZANE BRICKER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Thanks to a community theater, a group of volunteer actors and a little magic by the theater's technical director, an adapted rendition of "Cinderella" is playing in Pomona.

"This was a very major project for a small theater to do," said Sally Felix, director of the nonprofit Arts in Service (ARISE) Performing Arts Theater.

The play adapts the 1957 television musical of the classic fairy tale with a score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein to live stage with some daunting challenges. Among them is the transformation scene in which the pumpkin turns into a coach and Cinderella's rags turn into a ball gown.

"To make everybody believe in the magic, that's the challenge," Felix said. Her husband, Jim, technical director for the group, arranged the magic with some puffs of smoke, roll-up backdrops and a toy car operated by remote control.

Sally Felix said the board of directors of ARISE decided to put on "Cinderella," staged with traditional 19th-Century costuming, because of its value as family entertainment. Funding for the $5,000 production was borne in part by the cast of volunteer actors, who paid for their own 19th-Century-style costumes. Ticket prices are inexpensive compared with most live theater, ranging from $6 to $12.

The cast includes two sets of mothers and daughters. Merrile Brasch plays Cinderella; her mother, Melinda, plays the fairy godmother. Cera Hamic plays Cinderella's stepsister Joy, and her mother, Michele Smalley-Hamic, plays Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Beulah.

The community theater's parent, the Academy of the Arts, provides the 14-member orchestra, led by academy founder E. Martene Craig. The academy offers classes in the arts for both youngsters and adults, and has some scholarships for disadvantaged youth.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Seeing 'Cinderella'

WHAT: "Cinderella" on stage

WHERE: ARISE Performing Arts Theater, 3131 N. Garey Ave., Pomona

WHEN: Weekends through April 2; Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees, 3 p.m.

HOW MUCH: Preferred seating, $12; general admission, $10; senior citizens and students, $8; children 12 and younger, $6; discount for groups of 20 or more

INFORMATION: (909) 593-0466

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