BREWER, Maine — Once upon a time, an 8-year-old girl accompanied me to a ballet performance of “Cinderella,” which enchanted us both.
I’m still enchanted with Tess McLaughlin and now with all the area young people who illuminated the Brewer Youth Theatre production Saturday evening at Brewer Middle School.
From dealing with her wicked stepsisters to evading the prince’s questions about her name to poignantly singing “In My Own Little Corner,” McLaughlin in the title role kindled with charm the affection of parents, 5-year-olds in fancy dresses, grandparents, students and everyone else in the audience.
“Impossible” became “It’s Possible” as she shared the stage with Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, played by the musical Jewels Watson.
Not all productions of “Cinderella” have a narrator, but with the comical Rachel Caron on board, shouldn’t every play have one?
And a ballerina, floating across the stage? Who was that mystery girl? Wait, that was Rachel Caron, too.
Back to the humor. From traditional to current-day topics, it popped up everywhere, thanks to Anthony Severance and Jillian McNally as the king and queen; and of course the trio playing Cinderella’s haughty stepmother and stepsisters — Erin Mills, Erika Cote and Kate Weigel.
And the prince, was he charming? So charming. On finding his lady love, Jamie Bartol went from despondent to regal as he launched into “Ten Minutes Ago I Saw You.”
Of course he lost her at midnight, then found her again with the help of the glass slipper. Also taking individual parts were Rachel Sibley as the herald; Emily Irvine, steward; Brian Vallance, chef; Lauren Goodall, Angela Patterson and Brianna Philbrick, ladies in waiting; Alek Sayers, captain of the guard; Nikola Stojanovic, footman; and Kristian Joliat, minister.
Townspeople in lovely garb were Denise Applin, Christy Bruton, Hope Eye, Cliff Hahn, Catelyn Kimball, Ambureen Rana, Kenzie Smith, Kaileigh Tremble, Mandie Umel and Kate Wypski.
And as much fun as it was to hear the performers in ones, twos and threes, there was an extra lift in numbers offered by the total group as they blended their voices in harmony.
Production staff were Rich Kimball, director; Clayton W. Smith, music director and pianist; Jamie Bartol, set design; Jamie Bartol and Jim Bartol, set construction; Marcia Bartol and Melanie Moore, costumes; Rich Kimball, lights; Abby Hayward, stage manager; Andrew Sullivan, violin.
Lending assistance were the Penobscot Theatre Company, Dennis Kiah and Mike Martin.
Brewer Youth Theatre will present three more shows of “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 23-25, at Brewer Middle School, 5 Somerset St. Tickets at the door are $6, $3 students, $10 families.
Also this weekend, take in Ten Bucks Theatre’s production of one-act plays, “Here We Are,” “The Attempted Murder of Ms. Peggy Sweetwater” and Mamet’s “Duck Variations,” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 23-25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at Next Generation Theater, 39 Center St., Brewer. Tickets are $10, $5 with student ID.
Reserve tickets on the Web at tenbuckstheatre.com
At the Bangor Opera House, 131 Main St., Bangor, Penobscot Theatre Company is presenting “State of the Union,” a satire of backroom politics and front-page romances, at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30; 8 p.m. Oct. 24 and 31, and Nov. 1; 5 p.m. Oct. 25; and 2 p.m. Oct. 26 and Nov. 1-2. For tickets, call 942-3333.
Coming attractions at Brewer Youth Theatre are:
• The fifth Halloween Radio Show, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30.
• “MacBeth: A Kid’s Cautionary Tale Concerning Greed, Power, Mayhem and Other Current Events,” by Nancy Charles and William Shakespeare, 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 6-7, at Brewer Middle School.
• Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” presented by Brewer Theatre Project and New England School of Communications, live radio presentation on WHSN, one night only, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3.
• Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” January 2009.
Go see a play. “You may never come down to earth again.”