Tuesday, September 26, 2017


At some time in your life, you probably have had a time where you went to a special place in an imaginary world where you could, "Be whatever I want to be."  This pretend world is part of growing up and playing with toys.   Stories are part of that world, especially the world of the musical "Cinderella."
Beginning last weekend and continuing through Sunday, Cinderella G2K is showing at the Chanticleer Theater located at 830 Franklin Ave. in Council Bluffs.   The legendary tale is told as a musical by talented school-aged children. This is not a school-production, but extremely musical children and young adults who actually pull you into an imaginary time and place by using their natural and trained abilities as competent as any professional.   The exciting part for me is the realization that the actors and actresses live locally in our community.
As Cinderella, Carson Santee is wonderful.   Her voice and acting abilities are phenomenal in this daunting role which every little girl and many adults envy.  Her Prince Charming is Adam Fulbright, whose beautifully charming voice completely enchanted everyone.
The supporting roles of the King played by Connor Mowery, the Queen by Riley Pope, and the Herald by Garrett Pryor and the Godmother by Kira Watson are amazing.   It is difficult to believe that their acting and singing is just local talent.  Each one possesses a marvelous voice and stage presence of any professional.  I am shocked to learn that Riley Pope is only a sophomore in high school with her command of the stage and a gorgeous voice.  Garrett Pryor is also only a high school senior.
As the evil stepmother, Kyla Mittan is masterful.   The step-sisters Zoey Dittmer as Portia and Natalie  Simons as Joy is marvelous combining their musical talents into being hilarious and having fun with their roles.   These two are could easily take over the show as a comedy act.  They are delightful.
Two featured dancers, Haley Cecava and Tianna Hartin-Kovy epitomized the grace and elegance of a magical royal world.
This cast of almost fifty is supported by an amazing ensemble who frequently have short solo roles are all superb with their singing, acting, and dancing.   My only regret is that they can't wear name tags on their costumes to recognize each person individually.
The set itself is amazing.  Elegant is the best word.  Can anyone imagine building a functional background, including a town, Cinderella's home inside and out, and a ballroom which all need to be moved without noise and interference during the play in less than ninety-minutes?
Costuming-phenomenal.   Ibsen Costumes along with Ann Coombs created a magical world for almost fifty-characters with changes.
For this magical tale to happen, the behind-the-scenes activity is responsible for creating the best show possible.  Denise Putman is the director in what has to be an overwhelming and daunting challenge being responsible for the entire production.  Her time and talents are obvious with every elemental detail in this outstanding production.  Ariel Ibsen-Bauer proves to be a masterful choreographer combining the multitude of dancing skill-levels into dances that appear complicated but achievable for every cast member.  Jerry Gray keeps everyone perfectly on the beat and in-tune with his masterful musical direction.   Beth Ruiz is the perfect Stage Manager keeping everything running smoothly.  Bob Putman is superb as the Tech Designer.
Supporting the cast is both the lighting and sound crews.  Darrin Golden is in charge of light design with Hamie Katzenstein as the Light Board Operator..  Operating the spot lights are Maddy Adkins, Madeline Kanu, and Sean Kelley.   Dave Podendorf is the sound designer with Jaycee Wetenkamp operating the sound board.
Additionally, Kathy Gray is  the props designer.
The Chanticleer Board of Directors is wonderful in annually, having a children's theater show to promote the local community young talented individuals.
The Back Stage Crew is instrumental in the show running smoothly.  Beth Ruiz, Kent Ruiz, Cindy Frank, Rob Dittmer, Harrison Sprecher, and Kaitlyn Richardson assisted with this enormous task.
Cinderella is the perfect show for children and adults of all ages.  The Rodgers and Hammerstein music is melodic and easy to remember while also relaying the story.  The actual program is fast' paced and lasts less than ninety minutes with eleven scene changes.
Cinderella continues this weekend with showtimes at 7:30 pm on both Friday and Saturday nights and at 2 pm on Sunday.   Tickets can be obtained by going to the Chanticleer Box Office located at 830 Franklin Avenue in Council Bluffs between the hours of 9 and noon or by calling 712-323-9955, or e-mail at chanticleertheater@gmail.com.  The cost of tickets is $20 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $10 for students.
Take a day this weekend with the glorious music of Rodgers and Hammerstein in the magical world of "Cinderella."

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