Humboldt Light Opera Co.'s 'Cinderella', an important story about family, kindness

Humboldt Light Opera Co.'s always-anticipated summer musical is one whose famous title alone is sure to entice families (and kids of all ages). It's the fairy tale that's known and beloved throughout the world: "Cinderella." And, best of all, it's set to music!

"(It is) the Enchanted Edition, the Rodgers and Hammerstein version that includes all of the wonderful songs from the original 1957 teleplay -- as well as 'The Sweetest Sounds' that was later added to the 1997 TV production," director Carol Ryder said.

Ryder said that she did extensive research on the well-known tale, and was fascinated with how it had changed over its hundreds of years of existence, incorporating and reflecting the cultural differences in family relationships of the times.

"After reading over 25 crosscultural 'Cinderellas' it became clear that the important part of the story is really about family, the power of words and kindness. They are great stories," Ryder said. "In fact, we've already been doing a series of our own crosscultural story readings and events to de-emphasize the Princess and Prince Charming aspects for a more modern audience.

"There are several differences. The dialogue is a bit more relaxed and all of the characters are more fleshed out. We've also added some twists in the casting. Instead of just a fairy godmother, there's a fairy god-family and, three stepsisters instead of two. All of the characters are meant to be more real, and less Disney."

But, that doesn't mean that audiences will not experience all of the enchantment they've come to expect from the magical story of the girl whose life is changed forever by a prince's glass slipper. And, the delightful score sets spirits soaring with songs such as "My Own Little Corner," "The Prince is Having a Ball" and "A Lovely Night."

Katri Pitts plays Cinderella; Tracey Barnes Priestley is her stepmother; Sarah Mullen, Brandy Rose and Molly Severdia are her stepsisters. James Gaad is the prince; Bill Ryder and Katherine Kinley, the king and queen; Els Pence, Fiona Ryder and Aurora Pitts, the fairy god-family; Gino Bloomberg and Riley McFarland, the prince's friends and Larry Pitts is Lionel.

Justin Sousa conducts the pit orchestra; Jayson Mohatt did the scenic and lighting designs; Kevin Sharkey, the costumes; Hannah Jones, the makeup and Ciara Cheli-Colando, the choreography. Carol Escobar is the dialogue coach.

HLOC's "Cinderella" opens at HSU's Van Duzer Theatre on Friday at 7:30 p.m. followed by a gala reception with cast and crew. The opening weekend shows continue on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The run resumes with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 and 11; and a 2 p.m. matinee on Aug. 12. The run concludes with 7:30 p.m. shows on Aug. 17 and 18.

There will also be some special events prior to each show. A Royal Boutique will offer royal makeovers for kids before evening performances; and KEET TV's Ready To Learn will provide fun activities before matinees.

To purchase advance tickets for "Cinderella," call 822-1318 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; or buy them securely online using PayPal at

Ticket prices for Van Duzer Theatre seating are: $19 general (center/downstairs and center/balcony); $16 general (side/downstairs and side/balcony); $13 (top balcony).There's a $2 ticket discount on tickets for seniors (62+); students 18 years and under and students with a college ID.

If you go

What: "Cinderella"

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: HSU Van Duzer Theatre

Admission: $13 to $19, depending upon seating; senior, student discounts