PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Fingers crossed that you are invited to the ball, because Pensacola Little Theatre opened “Rodgers and Hammersteins Cinderella” last week.
Director of the show, Katelyn Geri said the opening show was pure magic after spending seven years planning the show.
“It was amazing finally seeing this show come to fruition,” said Geri. “Our whole team worked really hard to get everything ready for that night and to finally have a full house. It was great hearing the audience’s reactions to the hard work we put into this show.”
From having issues trying to pin down the rights to the show, to roadblocks from the COVID-19 pandemic, Geri said she is extremely grateful for the cast she has today.
“We finally got the rights to the show in 2020, and of course, it was delayed by the lovely pandemic,” said Ger.
“We talked about doing a concert version, or a stripped-down version that’s a much smaller cast. We all kept coming back to wanting to do the full version, with all of the magic that we could make. So, we waited.”
Growing up as a Disney kid, Geri said she remembers the magic from the original “Cinderella” movie, which ultimately led to her decision to put on the play.
“We all remember watching the animated “Cinderella” from the 1950s,” said Geri. “The theme that hopes, dreams and wishes can happen, has always really resonated with me. Knowing that we had a team at PLT right now that could make that magic happen on stage was really inspiring. Working close with the technical director, Kayla Stephenson, who has worked magic with the set and everything, it has been an awesome experience.”
PLT’s leading lady for “Cinderella,” Anna Miley is a Pensacola native currently studying vocal performance at New York University. She said opening night for her was a blur, but the energy was amazing.
“It was strange, because it felt like we were just doing a rehearsal, then everything opened up and there were people everywhere,” said Miley. “The energy was so high, and it was so great to finally get that feedback from a live audience. The energy soared versus the energy from dress rehearsals. It came as kind of a shock. It didn’t fully process until I was onstage in front of an almost sold-out crowd.”
For Miley, playing the fairytale princess is a dream come true, but she said she is excited to pave her own path in her own pair of glass slippers.
“I started getting into musical theatre in middle school,” said Miley. “One of the first shows that I started listening to was the new Broadway version of ‘Rodgers and Hammersteins Cinderella.’ I fell in love with it, and it became one of those things where if I were to choose any role, ever, to perform in, it would be Cinderella. It has been so amazing. I don’t know if I was necessarily nervous to fill in her shoes, because the thing about creativity is that you can make the role whatever you want it to be. Making her into my version was so fun.”
Miley said being able to come back to her hometown to perform is comforting.
“It is so interesting learning about PLT itself, because I never did it as a kid, unfortunately,” said Miley. “Performing for the community is like finding a family that I didn’t know that I could find. It has been such a nice and warm feeling. I don’t know how else to describe it.”
Both Miley and Geri agree that residents and visitors to Pensacola should come see the show because of how funny and magical it is.
“Romance is great, and we all know the story of Cinderella, but for me, the supporting characters make the show,” said Miley. “It is not always going to be about the leads. Since we really do have such a great supporting cast and ensemble, you are going to be entertained no matter if a lead is onstage or not. Watching the show, you will laugh, giggle maybe or even blush, but you will never not be entertained.”
Pensacola Little Theatre will be presenting “Rodgers and Hammersteins Cinderella” until Aug. 14. For ticket information, click here.
Below is the full cast of the show:
- Cinderella: Anna Miley
- Fairy Godmother: Gavin Parmley
- Step Mother: Emily Mixon
- Joy (step-sister): Ileana Rendon
- Grace (step-sister): Katie Berry
- Prince Christopher: Owen Ides
- Queen Constantina: Trudy Jenkins
- King Maximillian: Perry Jones
- Lionel: Joseph Garnett
- Fox: Benjamin Haupt
- Raccoons: Anthony Broughton, Garrett Summitt
- Ensemble: Julia Banta, Mieke Bendolph, Anthony Broughton, Sydney Burkey, Candice Byrd, Hayley Earle, Rebekah Hammond, Briella Harding, Benjamin Haupt, Rachel Hedaria, CJ Helt, Alyssa Iverson, Emma Jenkins, Mischel Johnson, Aaleigah Knight, Clayton Knighten, Nicole McWilson, Karen Merlini, Nathan Myers, Lalla Pierce, McKenzie Norman Price, Erin Quinlan, Kelly Reed, Sadie Smith, Tristan Smith, Garrett Summitt, Nathan Toepfer.