Review: Performing Arts Sheiks perform a majestical “Cinderella”

Christian Roque

Crimson Chronicle Reporter

Hollywood High’s own production of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” debuted on Friday after nearly three months of rehearsals and preparation and a several day delay brought on by the Oscars. The production is based on the 2013 Broadway rendition of the Rodgers & Hammerstein version, having altered dialogue in between the musical numbers.

The story of the musical warrants little summary; it’s a classic, beloved the world over. So, how does Hollywood High’s rendition hold up? Incredibly well, considering that this is a high school production. 

Acting-wise, the musical starts off a little stiff with the fight scene, though it is certainly fun to watch. It all quickly gets made up for, though, with some noteworthy performances. Kiya Ashley, PAM senior, does a great Marie, being able to switch really well between being frightening and magical. Alexander Flores, PAM senior, as Jean-Michel (a new character in the 2013 version) captures the passion, frustration, and timidness of the disgruntled revolutionary he plays.

The choreography is highlighted in the performances of such songs as “The Prince is Giving a Ball/Now is the Time,” “Ten Minutes Ago,” and “Stepsister’s Lament,” with the first and second being of note. The dancing in “Ten Minutes Ago” is very fluid, and the performance of “The Prince is Giving a Ball/Now is the Time” does the scene justice by showing the joy of the town square crowd. 

Though the acting and choreography are incredibly solid, they don’t hold a candle to the amazing vocal performances by the ensemble and main cast. It’s really hard to single out one song as a showpiece for this rendition because all of them are so well-done; it just comes down to preference. From the sweet harmonies to the beautiful vibratos and pitching of the cast’s vocals, you really can’t go wrong with the music. 

Catalina Argello, the PAM sophomore playing Ella, was an amazing fit for her role as an actress, but especially as a singer. Her vocal performances come very close to matching those of Laura Osnes, who portrayed Ella in the 2013 Broadway production. For this being only her second musical performance at Hollywood High (though she has been in other theater performances elsewhere in the past), she shows an immense amount of potential for future productions. 

Really, the only flaws with the April 2nd showing of this production were issues with microphones, which were, at times, muted or distractingly clicking out of nowhere, and some slight hiccups with the singing. Particularly, some of the harmonies during “When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight” were a little bit dissonant, and the very last part of “Loneliness of Evening” was nearly too sharp before Victor Solis (PAM senior, as Topher) was able to quickly salvage it. However, these mistakes were small enough that they likely won’t happen again in future showings. 

If you’re a fan of musicals, you definitely need to check this production out, and even if you aren’t, it’s still worth a shot if you’ve ever watched any version of “Cinderella” in the past. The next showings will take place on Friday and Saturday from 7-10 p.m. and Sunday from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are only $7 for students and $10 for parents; they really should be charging at least double that all things considered. The talent was superb and so much hard work was put into it that you’d be doing yourself a disservice by staying in your own little corner and not going to have a lovely night watching it. 

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