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Best written reviews for “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” performed by St. Stephens and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. Reviewed on March 11, 2022.

Clare A’Hearn

McLean High School


Godmothers, golden carriages, and glass slippers may seem "Impossible," but in St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, these fictitious elements came to life in their "Own Little Corner" of the world.


Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted this quintessential fairytale into a musical for television in 1957. Following the film's immense success, a stage production was produced which has now been performed around the world. The musical itself follows Cinderella, an orphaned girl who acts as a servant in her own household, as she journeys to meet her very own Prince Charming. Facing the obstacles of her stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella requires magical assistance to achieve her dream to "Waltz for a Ball."


With ease and authenticity Emmie Vajda portrayed the starry-eyed titular character. Vajda's lovely lilting vocals and graceful gait supported Cinderella's quaint kind-heartedness. Sam Tampubolon as Prince Christopher contributed vocal power to their numbers and was able to maneuver the more emotional moments between their characters. During "Ten Minutes Ago," the simplicity and excitement of a budding romance was admirably personified by Vajda and Tampubolon. Holding great truth behind their roles and trust in each other, they concocted a simply delightful portrait of a young love.


Charlotte Nichols commanded the stage while twirling a scepter as the Fairy Godmother. Her enchanting voice and polished movements bewitched the audience as Cinderella's iconic blue dress was unveiled. Nichols’ mysterious Fairy Godmother supported Vajda's whimsical depiction of Cinderella and together they displayed an endearing kinship.


The often insufferable stepsisters Portia and Joy were artfully portrayed by Maren Knutson and Amber Dunton. The attention-seeking Portia was energetically performed by Knutson through exaggerated hand gestures while Dunton proved adroit commitment to her role by sustaining slight irritation through the duration of the production. Watched over by Mimi Shea as the Stepmother, the pair's antics were suppressed until they burst in the stepsisters' spirited lament.


Playing the King and Queen, Keith Bolen and Kirsten Johnson were the dynamic pair that grounded the show. To depict moments of lighthearted jest, Bolen employed comical facial expressions while Johnson contrastingly maintained composure through each mark.


The technical aspects of the production helped bring the magic to life. The Cinderella Pit Orchestra began the show with a splendidly performed overture and supported the occasions of emotional vulnerability and lively cheer with apt dedication. The choreography was impressively produced by Emma Lacy and the Cinderella Dance Team. Incorporating lifts into the intimate dances between Cinderella and Prince Christopher and utilizing the entirety of the space, the choreography allowed for unity in the ensemble and audience immersion in the enchantment. Despite a mishap with the lighting, Kurt Gehlhoff was able to create a starry night and replicate a mystical twilight with a dark blue glow between scenes. The individuality of the characters and the versatility of the ensemble were emphasized by the intricate hair designs featured on every member of the cast. Led by Haley Lehman, the hair designs revealed the absurdity of the stepsisters or the rigidness of the stepmother before they even spoke.


Although Cinderella's spell ended as the clock struck midnight, the charm of St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella stayed in the audience's hearts long after they left "Driving Through the Moonlight."

Liesl Winternitz

Lake Braddock Secondary School


A twinkling carriage, rags twirling into riches, and a peasant becoming a princess, all providing the marvelous magic of a fairy tale; "It's Possible" in St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella".


Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1957 version of "Cinderella" was originally written for a television movie with the legendary Julie Andrews fulfilling the titular role. However, the production was quickly adapted for the stage. The story is one most children and adults already know by heart- sweet Cinderella is swept up in magic when her evil stepfamily denies her the chance to go to the prince's ball. She quickly falls in love with Prince Christopher but must leave before the clock strikes midnight- and before she can tell him her name. A wondrous tale suitable for those of every age follows, full of heart and wonder as the Prince searches for his lost love.


St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School's production was magical from the first moments. The Fairy Godmother (Charlotte Nichols) demonstrated her poise and command of the stage as she entered. Whether she was providing a beautiful harmony or a spot of laughter, she infused the theater with a sense of enchantment. From ensemble members to the leads, the commitment of the actors to the story they were telling was the lifeblood of the show. The step-sisters, Portia (Maren Knutson) and Joy (Amber Dunton), brought a smile to everyone's faces whether they were ordering around Cinderella, fighting over Prince Christopher, or sullenly conceding that they'd lost at Cinderella's wedding. Their character choices were always spot-on and had the audience in stitches. The Queen (Kirsten Johnson) and the King (Keith Bolen) had an excellent dynamic that was established from the moment the lights came up on them. Their banter added a current of wholesomeness, and their vocal talents were not to be underestimated, especially when combined. The Staff ensemble (Maddie McDowell, Virginia Campbell, Danielle Hines, and Marc Fountaine) were always a welcome sight throughout the show, appearing here and there and always bringing energy with them.


If the joy and excitement radiating from the actors were not enough to draw you into the Cinderella fairytale, then the choreography (Emma Lacy) would certainly fit the glass slipper. The dancing and movement brought spirit to every scene, big or small. In numbers between Cinderella (Emmie Vajda) and Prince Christopher (Sam Tampubolon), this pep became something softer and more tender. During "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You Are Beautiful?", the dancing brought the two lovers closer, connecting on an intangible level. Both Vajda and Tampubolon danced beautifully, trusting each other fully with several stunning lifts and twirls. Although the audience anticipated what was going to happen in the story, they couldn't look away– a well-known fairytale was being told anew through dance.


The properties (Zoë Coval, Meghan Drzewiecki, Heather Hawkins) were icing on the wedding cake. The team had the difficult task of creating magic out of thin air, and they pulled it off. Glimmering lights on the pumpkin carriage, a ribbon twirled in the air, and the Fairy Godmother's glowing staff– it all made the fantastical that much more real. Even props more familiar to our world were stylized in a way that brought the audience closer to Cinderella's fairytale kingdom.


St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School's production of Cinderella left adults and children alike feeling as though even the "Impossible" was within their grasp.


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