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Children’s Play at Chantilly High

‘Cinderella and the Substitute Fairy Godmother’

— Leave it to Chantilly High to take a classic fairytale, turn it on its head and come up with something hilarious. And that’s just what the school has done with its upcoming children’s show, “Cinderella and the Substitute Fairy Godmother.”

The curtain rises Friday, June 1, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 2, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door or online at www.chantillyhsdrama.com.

Featuring a cast and crew of more than 60, the play was written by Chantilly Theater Director Ed Monk. And besides his own students, he’s invited eighth-graders from Rocky Run, Franklin and Rachel Carson middle schools to be part of the play.

“They’ll be in the ensemble and the big dance number and will welcome children in the lobby before the show,” said Monk. As for the Chantilly thespians — who are mainly underclassmen — he said they’re learning the acting process and “will be wonderful and ready by the time we get to opening night.”

Saying the play has funny characters and jokes for children, teens and adults, he called it “silly fun for the whole family.”

Portraying Cinderella is freshman Mia Rickenbach. “Cinderella’s fairytale is going on, but her fairy godmother becomes sick and can’t come and save her,” said Rickenbach. “So they have to call in a substitute, Lucretia Fossilwart. And the rest of the play tells all the disasters that occur because of it and how things all work out in the end.”

She describes Cinderella as “a miserable girl who’s constantly annoyed at how stupid her step-siblings are,” said Rickenbach. “And when it comes time for her fairytale to come true, she finds that it’s not what she expected, at all. At first, she’s patient, but eventually becomes angry and learns to stand up for herself.”

Rickenbach is having a good time playing this role. “She’s a unique character and it’s nice to play out the transition of emotions. She’s not the typical Cinderella — she’s more quirky and has some fun traits, like how she learns to deal with her siblings sarcastically. I also enjoy the sense of community amongst the cast; we’ve all become friends.”

She said the audience will enjoy the show because “it encompasses humor for every age group. And the wide body of emotions and the loud costumes are dazzling, as usual.”

Sophomore Brooke Johnson plays Lucretia. “She’s in her 60s and kind of airheaded,” said Johnson. “She laughs things off, even when she’s made a terrible mistake. She giggles, and you can’t stay mad at her. She doesn’t really know or remember all the spells to use as a fairy godmother; so sometimes, she’ll turn people into things she didn’t mean to. Or when trying to get coachmen for Cinderella’s carriage, she ends up with pigs, instead.”

Johnson loves her part because “Lucretia’s one of the funniest characters. She rambles and starts talking about one thing and ends up in a totally different place, and people have to bring her back. She’s like a lovable, but frustrating, grandma. The things she says are just crazy, and she doesn’t realize she’s being funny.”

Children’s shows are fun, said Johnson, because “the characters are so big. It’s like playing pretend, and we dance to act out the spells. Cinderella’s a familiar story, but this version tells what might happen if one, little thing changes.”

Portraying the evil stepmother is junior Kelly Dodd. “She’s mean to Cinderella and has a really annoying laugh,” said Dodd. “She’s surrounded by idiots and thinks she’s smarter than everyone else, but she’s really not. She loves her daughter, but thinks her son is an idiot and babies him. She’s not scary, but goofy and obnoxious.”

Her character and Cinderella do some slapstick comedy together, which Dodd’s enjoying. “In a children’s show, I can make big, over-the-top movements, and my laugh is loud and nasally. And my character has such a big personality that I can go in every direction with her.”

Dodd was also head of costuming, choosing attire from Chantilly’s collection that would appeal to younger children. So the costumes will be bright and shiny. “The royalty will have four different colors in their dresses, with big hoop skirts and varying patterns,” she said. “There are also animal costumes and sparkly fairies.”

Sophomore Sam McKee plays the prince. “He’s 27, but still immature and awkward,” said McKee. “He likes playing with model trains, instead of getting married, and he does everything his parents say. He also loves llamas and llama cheese and wants to be a llama farmer.”

It’s great playing this part, he said, because he can overreact and do strange things. Although McKee said it’s a bit difficult “to seem awkward on stage, without actually being that way.”

He likes children’s shows “because of the kids’ laughter and their reactions to jokes that you don’t think are funny, but they do. It’s fun seeing them have a good time. The storyline’s funny, and they’ll like all the humor and the relationships between the characters.”