‘Cinderella’ brings energy back to stage | Wide Awake Wilson
Wide Awake Wilson

‘Cinderella’ brings energy back to stage

Summer Community Musical opens July 15

Posted on June 30, 2021

Wide Awake Wilson
Anna Penwell, as Cinderella, and Michael Blackmon, as Prince Charming, rehearse the ballroom scene in "Cinderella" for the upcoming 2021 annual Summer Community Musical which opens July 15 at the Boykin Center. Janelle Clevinger | For  Wilson the Magazine

Anna Penwell, as Cinderella, and Michael Blackmon, as Prince Charming, rehearse the ballroom scene in "Cinderella" for the upcoming 2021 annual Summer Community Musical which opens July 15 at the Boykin Center. Janelle Clevinger | For Wilson the Magazine

Not even Cinderella was immune from the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as she had to wait another year before finding her Prince Charming.

Originally scheduled as the 2020 Summer Community Musical, the “Cinderella” production went through the audition process but came to a grinding halt the day of the first read-through. This year, everyone who auditioned last year and earned a role could get their previous role back or audition for another, as not everyone who received a role last year could return for this year’s production.

“This is the first musical in the larger area to happen in over a year,” said show director David Winstead. “People from all around are part of this show, including Wilson, Rocky Mount and Greenville.”

Produced by Wilson Arts and The Singers Studio, performances are scheduled for July 15, 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m. and July 18 at 3 p.m. at the Boykin Center, 108 Nash St. NE.

“This show is going to be a good time with equal amounts of laughs and joy,” Winstead said. “Honestly, it’s super funny, leans into the comedy and sweetness, and it’s just fun. It will refresh for you that joy that is live theater. This is the show version of a hug.”

The story of Cinderella revolves around a young woman who is orphaned and forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters. She dreams of a better life, and with the help of her fairy godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a princess, finds her prince and her happily ever after.

Winstead said this production of “Cinderella” stars both adults and youth.

“We can feature everyone from the smallest of small to the tallest of tall,” Winstead said. “Our youngest cast member is 5 years old, and he is adorable.”

Anna Penwell takes the lead role of Cinderella, with her prince being played by Michael Blackmon. The king is played by David Hill; the queen, Bobbi Jo Bone; stepmother, Alissa Korson; Portia, Julie Wall; Joy, Macaylee Wiggs; the godmother, Shelby Caroon; the chef is Damien Tomczyk; and Alyssa Wagoner plays the steward.

Music director for “Cinderella” is Cory Whaley, choreographer is Caitlin Hill, and costumes are by Genevieve McCormick.

Seth Greene, who recently graduated from Nash-Rocky Mount Early College and plays the role of Herald, could have spent his summer getting ready for the beginning of his college experience at Elon University this fall.

But the lure of the stage combined with the memories of a lost theatrical year proved far more powerful than spending his summer readying for life in a dorm.

“I love musical theater too much,” Greene said. “It’s too much fun for me. And when we couldn’t do it for an entire year, it sent me mentally to a place I didn’t want to be. So when I was finally able to perform again, I was very, very ecstatic.”

Will he miss performing on the Wilson stage?

“It’s bittersweet knowing that, if all goes well and I have an internship next summer, this could be my last annual summer musical for a little bit of time,” Greene said.

“But it’s good to be back here after everything that has happened over the last year. It’s good to be back with this set of people again.”

Tickets for “Cinderella” are $20 for adults and $10 for seniors, students and youth and can be purchased on the Wilson Arts website at www.wilsonarts.com. You can also call Wilson Arts at 252-291-4329 to purchase tickets over the phone with a credit card or visit the new Wilson Arts Center at 204 Nash St. S. during regular business hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets will also be sold at the door with the box office at the Boykin Center opening one hour prior to showtime.

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