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‘Cinderella’ twirls onto the Coleytown Middle School stage

‘Cinderella’ twirls onto the Coleytown Middle School stage

By Megan Doyle ’18

Organizing upwards of 60 kids to perform and make extensive sets for a musical may seem like a difficult feat, but Coleytown Middle School students have proved that, as they sing in the show, “nothing is impossible.”

On Thursday, March 30, Coleytown Company opened the Rodgers and Hammerstein show “Cinderella,” which was filled with messages of empowerment and kindness.

Multiple Staples students who worked with Coleytown Company in the past were recruited to help with this show. Cooper Knapp ’19, for example, put “hours of [his] life into it.”

Mae Logan ’19 worked alongside the choreographers and helped perfect the dancing at rehearsal. She raved about the experience, saying it was enlightening to see the production develop from another perspective.

“My favorite part about working on ‘Cinderella’ was learning a lot about what goes into making the dances for a musical instead of being the person choreographed on,” Logan said.

Behind the scenes also featured an abundance of parents who sewed costumes, built and painted sets, and did hair and makeup.

“It’s a ridiculous amount of hours, but the thing that’s worth it is watching the kids go through the process and seeing how much they get out of it,” Tami Benanav, the parent producer said.

The process proved to be very beneficial for the kids who participated, teaching them a wide range of assets, and focusing on those “21st Century Skills” everyone in Westport is so concerned with.

“I’ve definitely benefited my acting skills overall, and the acting vocabulary that I had no idea what it meant before [sic],” Shanti Wimmer, a sixth grader who played Cinderella said.

But, one of the most prominent aspects was the strong friendships that were made.

“This program covers resilience, perseverance, responsibility, teamwork, working towards a goal, meeting deadlines and, importantly, a strong group of friends that you might not necessarily have relationships with otherwise,” Benanav said.

This can be confirmed by the cast and crew, who were more than satisfied with the experience.

“I benefited from Coleytown Company because it’s a place where people you do and don’t know come together to create something great and have a blast,” Owen Dolan, who played Prince Topher said. “It becomes one big family that cares for each other and acts as one.”

Even for Staples students, the friendships that were made during the show can be long lasting.

“I liked all the friendships I made. I was surprised at how close I got with all the kids, a lot of which are coming to the high school next year,” Logan said.

The level of professionalism surrounding this show was very high, as they have broadway choreographers and costumers, along with musical directors who have worked with an extensive range of talented professionals.

The students were satisfied with the way the show turned out, and agreed that the hours put in were worth it.

“I am very proud of all of the kids and I hope they had a really great experience,” Logan said. “I couldn’t have asked for more from them in the show. They did amazing.”

Despite a few quick change mishaps with Cinderella’s dress not switching as smoothly as they would have liked, Knapp gushed over the high levels of professionalism Coleytown Company regularly demonstrates.

“The kids just put in so much time and effort, and they are really dedicated to what they do,” Knapp said. “Coleytown has really got stuff going on.”   

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