A reimagined version of the classic fairytale, "Cinderella," is coming to Spring Grove.
On March 20 at 7 p.m., Spring Grove sixth graders will be performing their own rendition of the beloved fairytale in the main theater of the school. Directed by Kay Capps Cross from Ye Old Opera House, the play was written by Mary Donnelly and George L.O Strid and involves 21 sixth graders. The class has been preparing for the play since the start of the school year and is very excited for the community to see its work in action.
“It’s fun,” said Clara Clinton, who plays Queen Philomena. “It’s really exciting that it’s getting close, but you also feel like you need more time.”
Bethany Engan worked with students on the music for the play and Megan Miller was also consulted regarding the set. Set dressing was a unique experience, as Spring Grove high schoolers worked with Miller to build the set based on drawings the sixth graders came up with.
“I love singing and dancing,” said Bently Rohland, who plays Sir Edward Visor, advisor to Prince Albert. “The songs are really good… I think I have one of the funniest songs in the play. It’s called Try on the Shoe.”
Rohland has worked on over 7 different productions and his “one dream is to either become a professional actor or a professional director,”
When asked why she selected Return of the Glass Slipper as this year’s production, Capps Cross stated “I liked the music, I liked the humor in it and it’s fun because, the way the script is written, we can do it with anachronistic props, which is going to be really fun. The kids are excited about it.”
Anachronistic props are set pieces that are from a time period different from when the play is set. This means that, though the show is set during medieval times, the students could incorporate modern elements like a Kwik Trip bag or a Converse shoe into the performance.
“This class in particular is very enthusiastic. They’re awesome kids,” said Capps Cross. “One of the things I love more than anything is watching their confidence grow.”
The production is the culmination of a new, year long theater partnership that was enacted by Spring Grove Public as a way to keep its sixth grade school play alive amidst coordination struggles and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 6th grade play has been a tradition in Spring Grove for a very long time, a tradition that nobody wanted to see go away,” said Gina Meinertz. “We wanted to create a partnership between people that would allow the play to continue on, but also allow a bunch of people to support each other based on their strengths, their interests and their time.”
The new partnership focuses on teaching its sixth graders the ins and outs of theater and works collaboratively with in-house staff and the Spring Grove community to provide this education. According to Meinertz, in various classes students compose character maps, design costumes and may even create their own play, to ensure “they’re practicing the skills they need to do this larger performance.”
“We weave in the theme throughout all of their subject areas,” said Meinertz. “Since day one of their sixth grade year they’ve been weaving in all of these different activities and learning experiences, so that when they do the play, there’s more meaning and more background.”
Other activities sixth graders participated in as a result of the partnership included touring Ye Old Barn and Ye Old Opera House in Spring Grove, as well as consulting with prominent local and former mayor, Scott Solberg, on lights, sound and how behind the scenes operations can affect the success of a production.
“This whole program they’re doing this year with theater, it’s phenomenal. Prior to even picking out the show, we spent time at the barn and they went to the Opera House. We had an audition workshop,” said Capps Cross. “It’s been a real comprehensive look at what theater is.”
The school additionally applied for a grant as part of the partnership that paid Capps Cross’s salary and will fund a field trip for sixth graders to see a show, as a year end celebration of the new partnership.
“You need to come see these kids and how hard they’ve worked. They’re terrific,” said Capps Cross. “It’s not often we get to see what happens in school and this is an opportunity for the community to see what’s been happening.”
Reach associate editor Rachel Stock at 507-724-3475.
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