Cinderella is a magical opening to OLO season

Cinderella is a magical opening to OLO season

Image Credit: Matt Dilyard

The fairy godmother proclaims that once Cinderella is ready to take responsibility for her own destiny - then magically impossible things start happening everyday. The OLO has done just that and the magic of their 2022 season has begun beautifully with a stunning production of the beloved Rogers and Hammerstein classic.

First crafted as a television vehicle for Julie Andrews, Cinderella has gone through several iterations since. The version that inspired the current Ohio Light Opera production appeared on television in 1997 and featured Brandy and Whitney Houston.

Everyone knows the story and the timeless songs such as “Impossible” and “A Lovely Night” are like familiar friends. This version of the show also includes two songs interpolated from two lesser known shows: “The Sweetest Sounds” from the 1962 musical “No Strings”, the only Broadway score where Rodgers wrote both lyrics and music; and “There’s Music in You”, a song that Rodgers and Hammerstein perform themselves in the 1953 film, “Main Street to Broadway.”

The opening night excitement was palpable on Wooster’s “Broadway” at Freedlander Theater on the College of Wooster campus. Plenty of grownups found their way to their seats assisted by the untiring team of usher volunteers and front of house team. There were also many young princesses dressed in their finest in attendance and all seemed captivated all the way through the production.

The stage is set, literally, for an exciting and beautifully performed and costumed performance as the Fairy Godmother begins the story. Her costume is unexpected and stunning. “You were expecting a tutu and magic wand?” she asks Cinderella.

Elegant lighting and carefully designed simple sets create the perfect setting for the magical story to unfold.

Alexa Lowrey sparkles as Cinderella in her first season with the OLO. She brings just the right amount of innocence to the timeless story while creating an up to date character who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to step forward.

Back for his third OLO season is Jonathan Heller as the prince with a fresh take on the royal offspring who is not too keen on having to find a spouse. Heller and Lowrey create a lovely believable chemistry from their first meeting.

And there’s nothing like the moment when an OLO veteran returns to the stage and turns on that expected spark of light and talent: both Ben Krumreig and Sarah Best shine with their witty characterizations as Lionel, the prince’s steward, and stepsister, Grace.

If only space allowed a listing of all the stellar performances, from Cinderella’s talented and often hilarious stepmother and her other fabulous stepsister, to the regal performances of the King and Queen, on through the ensemble­–everyone brings their best Broadway style and talent.

And lest us not forget the unsung heroes of the show: the mice. These charming and essential characters appear and disappear from their bookshelf hideaway throughout­ the story and seem to love keeping time to the music.

Ohio Light Opera, “are you really as wonderful as you seem?” Yes, indeed. Grab ticket and tiara and prepare for “a lovely night” at the theater — without ever leaving Wooster.

The Ohio Light Opera is a nonprofit organization that relies on ticket sales and donations to continue offering world-class theater to northeast Ohio. For the 2022 season schedule and ticket information, go to ohiolightopera.org or call 330-263-2345.