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Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia, presented Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) to the Cappies Critics on April 13, 2024. Here are the top two Cappies Critic reviews.

Riva Jain

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The stage is dim and shadowy, except for a sole spotlight trained on two enormous book pages. On them is written, “Once Upon a Time”. These four words, as they have across centuries, mark the beginning of a whimsical fairytale: Centreville High School’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Enchanted Edition).


Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) boasts a long history of adaptation. Originating as a television musical starring Julie Andrews, the show was reproduced for television in the mid-sixties and late nineties. The musical echoes the classic rags-to-riches tale of downtrodden Cinderella, who spends her days being pushed around by her wicked stepmother and stepsisters until she meets the prince of her dreams at a royal ball.


Centreville High School’s production was tied together by an ensemble that never lost its energy. Even when not at the forefront of the show, ensemble members continued to build the immersive world of the show by acting out quarrels and whispering gossip into each other’s ears. The ensemble’s dedication also shone through in their vocals, as they blended many different voices into well-balanced harmonies.


Madelyn Regan shone onstage as Cinderella. Spinning around rooms in giddy circles and looking around with wide, unsteady eyes, Regan embodied the role of the ingénue dreaming of a better life. Despite the fantastical nature of the role, however, Regan injected each action with realism, sighing after finishing a hard day’s work and throwing defeated looks at her stepmother. Regan’s vocals perfectly complemented their acting. With clear, lilting tones reminiscent of classic princesses, Regan warbled out challenging songs such as “In My Own Little Corner,” never faltering even while dancing across the stage.


Whether awkwardly shifting away from unwanted advances or reasoning with the prince about going to the royal ball, Makena Nelson grounded the show in the role of Lionel. Nelson’s eye rolls, nervous laughs, and energetic hand movements transformed even Nelson’s smallest lines into memorable, punchy moments. Never shying away from a choice, Nelson executed each action with perfect comedic timing. Another larger-than-life character was Antonella Foschi’s Joy. Whether running after her sister in misplaced anger or sneaking snorts in between forced laughter, Foschi’s Joy brought life to the stage. Foschi’s commitment to the role made the unlikable character almost charming.


Various technical elements served to elevate the show. The sets, created by Katie Powderly and the Cinderella Set Crew, were chock-full of detail and craftsmanship. Cinderella’s home was put together with muted colors and wooden slabs, while the palace in which The Prince (Andre Jones) and his family resided was draped in soft fabrics and brighter reds. The palace garden combined different textures, with curling metal gates affixed over walls of lush ivy to create a luxurious look. The choreography, executed by John Poncy, was simple yet effective, allowing even large ensembles to stay perfectly synchronized. The choreography particularly stood out in ballroom scenes, where the cast do-si-do-ed and spun around the stage, weaving in and out of shapes and formations.


With its many moving parts, bold characters, and whimsical interactions, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) required dedication and skill, traits that Centreville High School’s cast and crew brought effortlessly to the stage. One thing can surely be said: this production was magical beyond compare!

Sabrina Cruz

Bishop Ireton High School


Centreville High School's Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) opened its book with a "Once Upon a Time," leading us on a delightful journey through a cherished fairytale.


In 1957, Rodgers and Hammerstein sprinkled their fairy dust and rebirthed the classic Cinderella story, making its debut on television starring Julie Andrews. It became the most-watched program at that time. The fairytale's charm continued to inspire remakes, including one in 1965 with Lesley Ann Warren, and another in 1997 featuring Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother. Even with its different stage adaptations, this heartwarming and humorous love story continues to win over hearts of all ages.


This performance was no different. At its heart was Madelyn Regan, who embodied Cinderella's grace and charm with a captivating performance. Regan's performance brought Cinderella to life. Her expressive movements and charming voice, especially during "In My Own Little Corner," truly captured the character's cheerful spirit and unwavering hope. The portrayal added a new layer of depth to Cinderella, reminding us that even amidst adversity, kindness and perseverance can truly shine. Alongside Cinderella, Prince Christopher’s, played by Andre Jones, connection with his beau blossomed into a heartwarming duet. Their rendition of "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" showed the audience that even if separated by societal norms, their voices intertwined, weaving a tapestry of love that transcended invisible barriers.


The magic of music wasn't limited to the leads. The ensemble's voices soared in beautiful harmony, weaving a tapestry of sound that transported us back to a time of classic Disney magic. Their melody echoed in the audience's hearts, a familiar tune that rekindled the childhood wonder of people who may have first encountered Cinderella amidst those timeless tales.


The brilliance of this production extended far beyond the star-crossed lovers. Enter Lionel, the Prince's trusty steward, played by Makena Nelson. Her comedic timing and delivery sent the audience into fits of laughter, while also giving a peek into the character’s quirky personalities. This was also seen through the stepsisters, Joy and Grace (played by Antonella Foschi and Kelley Simpkins), who waltzed into the audience's hearts with their side-splitting antics. Their comedic chemistry was truly that of sisters, turning every shared scene into a whirlwind of hilarity.


No happily ever after is complete without a sprinkle of backstage magic. The special effects team, led by Gabriel Amiryar, Maron Meyer, and the Cinderella SFX team, conjured up a dazzling transformation scene. Puffs of smoke and the carriage's entrance had the audience believing in fairy dust in a heartbeat. Adding another layer of enchantment, the show incorporated puppetry that brought a touch of whimsy reminiscent of old fairytales. These furry and feathered friends, along with shadow puppetry, added both fun and creativity to the piece, reminding us of the simple joys of storytelling.


A happily ever after did come to pass. Cinderella's kindness, after all, proved to be the most powerful magic of all. Centreville High School's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) was a delightful reminder that even amidst the challenges of everyday life, a little kindness can truly go a long way.



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