Here we go again.
Two years ago, I was blown away by the inaugural performance at the Kuna Performing Arts Center at Kuna High School, when Kuna High put on a performance of Oklahoma. I was incredulous at the professionalism and relative lack of glitches and errors at that performance. I couldn’t believe this was a high school production.
I hate to repeat myself, but the students and staff at Kuna High have done it again, this time with the production of Cinderella, which opened last week with the first three of five performances.
My family and I went to see the Saturday matinee performance.
I daresay that this year’s production was even better. Gileann Tan’s performance as Cinderella was terrific. She is an incredible singer whose opening notes gave me goosebumps on Saturday, just as they did when I first heard her at a dress rehearsal that I sat in on a couple of weeks ago. I am looking forward to what I expect to be many more references to her name in these pages in the coming years. I would not be surprised at all if she were to go on to have a successful Broadway career.
As a double treat, Tan shares the stage with Kayelee Farris, as the Fairy Godmother. You might remember Farris (I know I do) as the lead in Oklahoma two years ago. I gushed about her then, and I’ll gush about her now. To have both Farris and Tan on stage singing together is a rare treat.
Austin Meredith as the prince was a pleasant surprise. He has a good, expressive face for stage, and his singing was solid. Carson Trautman was perfect as the prince’s steward, and the trio of Rebecca Seideman, Shahayla Ononaiye and Malary Trautman as the stepsisters and stepmother kept the audience rolling with laughter.
Every scene was solid, as even the smaller parts, such as the queen, played by Kayla Mannlein, and the king, played by John Durrant, were performed expertly.
Major kudos to the adults who worked on the production, including producer/director Brandi Cook; orchestra director Stephen Newton; chorus director Corrina Steinbach; choreographer Mandy Fife; mice director Amy Robinson; stage director consultant Rachel Dickerson; acting coach Matt Paxton; graphic design, make-up and set painting, Jessica Tookey; set design and construction, Nancy Link; sound and lighting consultants: Lee Glover, Denny Jaggard, Committed Events (the sound and lighting were run by students for the show. Costumes were designed by three students for their senior project: Caitlyn Decker, Kaitlyn Hansen, Liz Madson, and many in the community helped them sew; pianist Leanne Law; and Barbara Morledge and Roderick Royce volunteered their time to play viola.
Here’s the good news: You can still see the last two performances. I remember writing about Oklahoma two years ago feeling disappointed that my rave review wouldn’t help convince anyone to go see the musical, because at the time, there was only one week of performances, so the production was over by the time the newspaper came out.
This time, though, they wisely added a second week of performances. You can still see Cinderella this Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, at 7 p.m. You can purchase tickets at the high school office or online at www.kunaperformingartscenter.org.
You won’t regret it.