A Finer Night You Really Hoped to See
River City Community Players
First off, hats off to the hard working cast and musicians of RCCP's summer production of Cinderella. The singing sounded lovely, and the musicians played well. As is often the case with RCCP, I wished there could have been a larger pit orchestra. However, those that were there played very well. Everyone under the direction of Joshua Shockey was well rehearsed and sounded great.
Unfortunately, this particular production overall fell short of the great theatre the Leavenworth community has come to expect from RCCP. This Little-Community-Theatre-That-Could has proven time and time over the years that small budgets do not stop a community from producing fine theatre. There have been several productions in the last few decades that left the audience wondering what exactly "community theatre" means, because they were so well done. Some memorable examples include Barnum (I believe that was directed by Richard Bayse), Jesus Christ Superstar directed by Eric Van Horn, Blithe Spirit (I apologize for not remembering the director, I believe it was Donna Elmer??) and The Diary of Anne Frank (again, apologies...Rumiko Dodson perhaps?)
My faulty memory aside, these and many other productions over the years have delighted, enlightened, and entertained the audiences of Leavenworth, KS and drawn a well deserved crowd from the whole KC area.
The costuming and set designs for this production of Cinderella were, in short, lazy. Pick a time period and stay there. We all know there is some lee way with fairy tales...but I believe we can agree that costumes from Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma and FOOTLOOSE do not all belong in Cinderella!!! Notable exceptions to this catastrophe of clothing were Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother, and the step sisters. These characters looked fabulous, right down to the step sisters' highly amusing wigs.
The stepmother's house looked like an ice cream parlor gone wrong, with a very obvious "invisible" door totally ruining the Godmother's magical entrance into the cottage. Much more could have been done with the ballroom as well...which remained exactly the same for the wedding scene, even though the chorus entered gazing in wonder at the decorations...at least, I think that's what they were doing.
The actors tried their hardest. Linda Finch can always be counted on to put on a good show, and she nearly saved this one. Suzie Stephensen sang beautifully and was the quintessential prancing princess. (It's hard to go deep with that role.) The step family was wonderful, particularly Bernadette Tate. However, I felt like the step mother and two step sisters could have done SO much more if the director knew what she was doing!
And a quick note on the choreography...it was typical (can you say b.o.x. s.t.e.p.), predictable, boring, and unimaginative. Next time, challenge these local "amateur" artists!!! They just might surprise you! (Did you SEE RCCP's Footloose?! Come on now!)
I am still a fan of the RCCP, but if I see the same director is in charge of another production ...I might just have to skip that one.