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Uwharrie Players director discusses ‘Cinderella’

It’s that time of year.

Roger Thomas

You might be thinking, time for the beach, or for shooting fireworks, or taking a vacation.

All of those are fun, but I was thinking, it is almost time for the Uwharrie Players’ summer show. And as you might already know, this summer’s show is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”

Recently, I sat down with the director of “Cinderella,” Christian Payne, and we discussed many aspects of the upcoming production.

I would like to remind everyone that Payne directed the previous Players production: “Drinking Habits.”

If you missed out on “Drinking Habits,” you missed out on a great evening at the theater.

So do not miss Payne’s newest direction of “Cinderella.”

One of the first items Christian and I discussed was the cast. I have been in a couple of the Players productions and they averaged less than 10 actors.

This Players production has a cast of 43 actors and 15 crew members.

I, for one, want to see all those actors on the stage of the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center. I also want to applaud Payne and all the persons involved in recruiting the actors and crew members.

That was quite a task and they should be commended for the efforts.

As Christian and I continued our conversation about the production, the director offered me descriptive terms for how he sees the production.

Here are some of those ideas that I found intriguing and exciting for those of us who will be sitting in the audience.

Payne described this play as an “exciting undertaking.” He also said that this version “would be different than any before.”

He hopes the audience will “allow the cast and crew to embrace the material and offer new twists.”

Payne also said he hopes the audience members will “see the story in a new way and from a different perspective.”

I, personally, like that idea very much.

Most of us have known the story of “Cinderella” for more decades than we care to count. But anytime when one can see something “again for the first time,” that is a very exciting and fun opportunity.

After our discussion of the numbers, Christian and I shifted to the telling of the story of Cinderella.

There have been several versions of the musical through the years. The first one aired on television in 1957 and starred Julie Andrews in the title role.

I was not born then so I do not remember that production.

Next, in the early 60s, came the version with Leslie Warren as Cinderella.

The version aired annually for several years.

I remember watching the version with my mother who loved the music.
Christian also told me that there is 1997 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” I have not seen that one, nor did I know it existed.

When I asked Christian about the elements of the production, he offered several things for those who are acquainted with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s version.

“The familiar songs will be there.”

“There will be humor.”

“There will be powerful moments.”

“We will be offering what people want and what is beyond their expectations.”

A few final thoughts that Christian offered: “The production will be fun, relevant to today and will remind all of us, we can be or do anything we want to be or do.”

I, for one, am looking forward to the Uwharrie Players production of “Cinderella.”

The performance dates are at 7:30 p.m. July 27-28 and Aug. 3-4. There will also be performances at 3 p.m. July 29 and Aug. 5.

So support the Uwharrie Players by buying a ticket for yourself and several of your favorite friends and have an enchanted evening.

Roger Thomas, who usually reviews films for The Stanly News & Press, also enjoys local theatre.