Ask a Jag: Cinderella Cast

Newspaper Staff, Staff Writers

This week’s “Ask a Jag” features Sophia Campbell, Daniel Andersen, AnnaClaire Arterbury, and Riley Grippo, who are the actors playing Cinderella, Topher, Marie (Fairy Godmother), and Madame (Stepmother) in the FMHS Cinderella musical.

Q: How long did it take to prepare for the performance? What was the rehearsal schedule like?

Sophia: We auditioned in September and started working on it in October. And the rehearsal schedule is pretty crazy; when you’re in theater, it’s a big commitment but we’re all very dedicated to it. We spend pretty much our entire lives at this school. We’re here very late and very early in the morning, but it’s a great time. We all really enjoy it.

Daniel: We started auditioning in September, and then, in October, we started our rehearsals. They’re pretty long, and I get really tired and I’m exhausted the whole time, but it’s a ton of fun. It’s just an amazing experience and it’s really good to spend all the time with all the people. It’s just a great time. It’s worth it.

AnnaClaire: It takes a while. We have auditions sort of at the end of September and early October. From there, they form a cast list, and that’s when rehearsals start. We start with music rehearsals. The whole cast will learn all the music and then the leads will learn their certain numbers because most leads have a solo song. Right when I got the role as Godmother, I learned all of my songs, and then I went to the music rehearsals too and learned all of the big group numbers. You also have blocking rehearsals, which is where you stand on stage, and it’s kind of the logistics of scene to scene. After winter break, that’s when we really start to put the show together and just run it all the way through. That’s what we’ve been doing these past few weeks. This weekend, I’m actually learning to fly, because I fly in the show. I’m getting rigged up for flying. It really comes together the week before the show, all of the tech and the lights and the sound.

Riley: It has taken about three and a half months to prepare for this musical. Rehearsals are super fun, but call for focus and hard work. Sometimes they can be super stressful, but I get to be around my friends!


Q: How chaotic do you think the backstage costume changes will be?

Sophia: Backstage costume changes are always a great learning experience. With this show, we actually have a lot of on-stage transformations, which has been a really cool opportunity to kind of grow and learn more about how professional theaters might do things. But, of course, there’s tons of quick changes backstage, and it can be stressful but we have a great crew that helps us. And we’re all very supportive of each other, so I’m sure it’ll go smoothly.

Daniel: You know, you’d think they’d be a lot more chaotic than they actually are. My sophomore year, when we did How To Succeed, you just like walk in the hallway and then someone is changing, they’re just in their underwear and everyone sees it. It’s pretty weird, pretty awkward, but it’s not actually that chaotic. This year I only have like 3 or 4 costumes, and I don’t think the costume changes will be that bad. That’s not the case for everyone though. Some people have some crazy costume changes; it’ll be magical.

AnnaClaire: We call it a track. Everyone has their own track of the show. We have scene numbers, and there’s act one and act two and there’s an intermission in between. So, everyone knows what track and what scenes they’re in, and when they need to be on stage. Also what props they need, and what outfits they need to wear. It’s different for everyone, but once we get into dress rehearsals, you get into a routine. You know what scenes you’re in, but it’s really the week of the show when you figure it out. Usually, right before we go on the show, our director, Mr. Taylor, asks us to close our eyes and just envision our whole track. As long as everyone is on their own track and does everything they’re supposed to do, it all works out. And that’s for technicians too.

Riley: Backstage costume changes are extremely chaotic. Making sure to get dressed in time when you only have a minute to change is super stressful; however, with the help of our amazing costumers, quick changes are able to be made possible.


Q: Who is your favorite character from Cinderella? Why?

Sophia: I think my favorite character would have to be Gabrielle because she had a great character arc and, as Cinderella, I get to bond a lot with Gabrielle. She’s just a great character who has a really great personality and a very charming goofiness and neediness to her, which I think a lot of us can relate to.

Daniel: My favorite character is probably Sebastian because he’s like all menacing and really exaggerated and creepy. I think it’s really funny.

AnnaClaire: I mean I love my character as the Godmother. It’s a lot of fun. But, some underrated characters… we have a fox and a raccoon in the show that are played by actual people, so there are foxes and raccoons in the beginning. Then the Godmother comes on and turns them into footmen and the driver of the carriage. So those are my favorite characters because they pop out of trees and stuff at the beginning of the show, and then in this big transformation scene, my friends, Brooke and Berkeley, just hop out of a tree and Berkeley actually flies out. Later into the show, when the clock strikes midnight, they transform back into the little puppets that they have. It’s kind of cool how that works because it adds that magical layer to the show.

Riley: My favorite character has to be Charlotte. Her lines are always so funny, and she brings such liveliness to the show.


Q: What does this play mean to you?

Sophia: Well, this is my senior year musical, it’s probably one of the last shows I’ll ever get to be in, so it means a lot to me. When you’re in theater, it’s very much a big learning process and you grow with each year, and it builds up to these great senior year shows. And so, I’m really excited to get to finish out my high school theater career and this show really means everything to me.

Daniel: You know, it’s come a long way, it really has. I think it’s, to me, a culmination of all the hard work I’ve put in to like every single year and it’s all built up to this one. And so, it’s really a time for me to show off what I’ve learned.

AnnaClaire: It’s really special because I’ve been in the musical since my freshman year. We’ve really just never done a show like this. I mean it’s different. I guess a word to describe it, it’s kinda cheesy, but literally just magical. Especially coming back from last year, where we could only have a twenty person cast and it was a small show and no one could come see it. It was just what we could do at the time. So, just coming back from that and being able to put on the biggest production that we could put on, which is pretty much what we’re doing with Cinderella. It’s special to me, because it’s like a comeback, and we’re getting to do everything we wanted to do.

Riley: This musical means a lot to me because it’s my first ever musical. Being able to experience a show like this for the first time is so amazing.


Q: How do you make the sets? What’s your favorite set?

Sophia: We have a wonderful tech crew and wonderful tech director and there’s a whole set crew that creates all of these sets from scratch. It’s definitely a huge project and every year they just amaze me more, but I would have to say my favorite set piece is probably the carriage. It just looks so magical and majestic and it’s really cool to get to be on it and have that experience. The set crew, they meet after school all the time to work on this and you can tell how hard they’ve worked on it and the creative thought process that goes into it.

Daniel: So, I haven’t actually seen the whole set, but from what I have seen, it’s very epic. It has all the right colors and designs and textures and stuff. I think my favorite is probably Buttercup, my horse, even though we haven’t really worked through that, it doesn’t look very good right now and it’s kind of janky, it’s still very fun and I’m sure it’ll get there. It’s just a really fun piece of the musical.

AnnaClaire: I’m not on the technical team, so I can’t speak much to it. But, from what I know, right when they get the show, they sketch out a set of every piece that they have. They usually go through the script and find, ‘okay they’re in the cottage here, the ballroom here, they’re outside on the steps here’. You just write down all those pieces and figure out how they can work together. For every show that I’ve been in, usually we’ll have these things called flats, and you just paint them to whatever they’re supposed to look like. Usually you put rollers on the bottom, and they’re double sided, so they’re easy to change. [My favorite set] is probably the steps. I’m not actually in any of the scenes with the staircase, but I like how it’s set up. I mean it’s a pivotal point when [Cinderella] comes down the stairs and loses her shoe. And there’s a stepsister song by the stairs. I mean I just love it because it’s a huge staircase, and it’s cool to look at.

Riley: The sets are made using planks of wood called flats. My favorite set has to be the cottage set, because it is so detailed.


Q: What inspired the choice to do Cinderella?

Sophia: So, we, as students, aren’t necessarily involved in the show selection choices, but something that our director did say is one of the reasons why he chose Cinderella is because it includes so many people, not only in the ensemble and the tech crews, but also in the orchestra pit. It just involves a lot of people which is something we didn’t get to do last year with COVID.

Daniel: I think they chose Cinderella because they saw me and they were like “wow, he’d be an amazing prince.” So, they just chose the story musical with the prince in it and I just fit the role.

AnnaClaire: It’s the directors. So every year, they meet with the choir team and the theater team and they talk about what students we have next year and what show we could put on from there. I honestly think they were thinking of the same thing – a comeback show. Not over the top, but just something extravagant to kind of just be like ‘we’re back!’And I think Cinderella is a good choice. Last time they flew in a show was in Little Mermaid, which was six or seven years ago. I think they really just wanted to bring in the magic. It’s a really fun show. And I think that’s what the directors were thinking.

Riley: After last year’s musical, our department wanted to do something big. Last year we weren’t able to do set pieces, props, and costumes in order to be as safe as possible. Now that we have the privilege to do those things again, Cinderella was a perfect choice because it’s such a complex show.

A special thank you to this week’s featured Jags! Stop by the “Ask a Jag” table during lunch every other Wednesday to submit a question for a piece of candy.