April 19, 2018
School & Youth
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  • Virginia Robinson (right) and Makenna Lorigan are among the cast members in Sunset Elementary’s “Cinderella,” which comes to Chesapeake High School on April 20 and 21.
    Photo by Judy Tacyn
    Virginia Robinson (right) and Makenna Lorigan are among the cast members in Sunset Elementary’s “Cinderella,” which comes to Chesapeake High School on April 20 and 21.

Sunset Elementary Tries On The Glass Slipper With “Cinderella”

Judy Tacyn
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March 20, 2018

It may be hard to believe, but the first literary version of “Cinderella” was published in Europe in 1634. Thousands of adaptations have followed over the years, most with the storyline of a young woman who falls into oppression due to circumstances beyond her control.

“I wanted to have students explore a traditional storyline that has been embraced from generation to generation,” said Jill Beram-Liimatta, vocal and general music educator, choral director and drama club director at Sunset Elementary School. “We chose ‘Cinderella’ because of the assortment of characters that would be meaningful for our cast members and a message that supports our PYP school goals.”

Sunset Elementary School is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) designated school. As an IB world school, the “transdisciplinary framework focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both at school and beyond,” according to the organization’s website.

Additionally, Beram-Liimatta said, “We have taken an approach over the last few years to produce musicals that are less traditional, such as previous productions of ‘Shrek Jr.’ and ‘Lion King Jr.’”

Sunset Elementary School will present “Cinderella” on April 20 and 21 for two evening performances at Chesapeake High School.

Auditions for “Cinderella” took place shortly after the school year began, and students began practicing last October.

Makenna Lorigan, a fourth-grader who plays the role of Cinderella’s fairy godmother, said she’s memorized her lines and her timing gets better with every rehearsal.

“My favorite part of acting is being able to sing in different voices and to use my entire vocal range,” said Makenna. “I love being part of a cast, because I get to make lots of new friends. In my grade, I stay with the same friends all day in school, but with our performances, I get to hang out with lots of kids I wouldn’t otherwise get to know.”

Fifth-grade student Virginia Robinson plays the lead as Cinderella. She said she practices at least 20 minutes every day, and that could be going over her lines, practicing choreography and dancing, or singing.

Virginia will attend Old Mill Middle North, an IB school, next year and is excited to continue her drama studies at that school, which is rich in the performing arts. As the lioness Sarabi in Sunset’s “Lion King Jr.” performance last year, she would get nervous before performances and not be able to do her best. This year, she is much more prepared and ready to tackle “Cinderella.”

Dexter Williams plays the prince and Allison Zimmerman takes on the role of an evil stepmother. Susan Wittek is the adult choreographer and stage director, with Helen Quade as assistant director, and Keith and Angela Clark as stage managers. Deborah Fluhr is the parent director.

Drama club is a partnership between students, faculty, parents, family members, community relationships, and business sponsorship,” said Berman-Liimatta. “We are lucky in the respect that many of our parents and guardians are talented in their own respect as artists, builders, etc. … Our costumes and scenery are indeed amazing!”

Cinderella’s ball gown or the fairy godmother’s sparkly dress — whose costume is more beautiful?

“I think my dress is the best costume!” said Makenna as she fiddled with the long ribbons flowing from a white silky dress.

Virginia has a different opinion. “Cinderella’s ball gown is ‘A-maz-ing,’” she said with extra emphasis. “I am not going to tell you too much about it. You’ll just have to come to the show and see it!”

The costumes and scenery stand out as the unique piece,” added Berman-Liimatta. “Our costume director, Barbie Halaby, is amazing.”

In addition to the show, patrons will be treated to an extensive shopping experience called the Bella Ella Boutique, where they can shop for items from jewelry to clothes.

To purchase tickets, go to www.showtix4u.com and search “Sunset Elementary School - Cinderella,” or contact the school at 410-222-6478.


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