As dozens of people crammed into the musical theater on campus, this audience expected to see the same classic story of a princess on the run that they’ve all heard since childhood. What they got was nothing short of a massively pleasant surprise, with the School of Drama’s rendition of “Cinderella” undergoing an invigorated makeover. This new take on the iconic tale follows the same titular heroine seeking to spread kindness in a kingdom that praises ridicule and cruelty, though this updated version includes government issues and a posh roast battle. Yet, most radically, Cinderella’s famous loose shoe is not, in fact, left behind.

The talented cast behind the musical spent countless hours preparing for the show, which proved invaluable given the impressive end product. Gage Morgan, a Bachelor of Theater major, spoke about the thorough process and dedication that went into it.

“We really built the show from the ground up. Since the day before classes started, we’ve been rehearsing almost every night learning our lines, blocking and who our characters are,” Morgan said. “At the same time, we layer music, choreography, costumes and set pieces as we go through the process.”

Morgan plays Jean-Michel, one of the musical’s main characters who didn’t appear in the original tale but is crucial to Hammerstein’s musical take. Jean-Michel is a political advocate for change in the kingdom and seen as a nuisance to high society and the young king’s staff. He is also the love interest of Gabrielle, played by Lexi McCain, the only half-sister who truly cares for Ella.

While the show went relatively well — aside from a few accidental slips that ended up adding to the comedy — Morgan pointed out how difficult it was to pull off a full performance. In particular, he expressed the cast’s frustrations with the school’s lack of funding as all the pressure fell on them to raise enough money to continue setting up large-scale productions. Other challenges he listed include wasted rehearsal time, lack of respect from management, and little clarification of show details.

“Despite these issues, as a cast, we’ve really pulled ourselves together and made what is, in my opinion, an extremely beautiful and fun show,” he added proudly.

The show’s rapid costume changes and transformations were a particular aspect that impressed audiences, as there were several that were done without the actors leaving the stage. With the help of light and sound effects plus some stylish swirls, the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella had their dramatic makeover moments in front of a cheering audience. These examples were just one of many visual tricks and moves well practiced by the show’s cast to keep the crowd engaged and amazed.

While there’s more than enough praise for the technical aspects of the show, Morgan further emphasized his gratitude to the people who brought it all together.

“My favorite part of ‘Cinderella’ is the casting. It’s a gift to be able to make art with such a talented group of performers,” Morgan said. part of a bigger picture and you blend into the tapestry of an exciting big show like “Cinderella”. Being able to perform with my cast mates every night is a joy.

The main cast included a number of talented faces from FSU’s famed theater program. Jessica Chunta starred, donning Cinderella’s iconic Venetian glass slippers. Her mean but comedic stepmother was played by Danielle Charboneau. Alongside Charbonneau were the villainous stepsisters, the aforementioned Lexi McCain as loving Gabrielle and Emma Katz as the hilariously oblivious Charlotte.

As Prince Topher, Will Porter took center stage and blew the audience away with a charming and innocent performance the character needed.

With arguably the most powerful voice on the show, Amanda Lee shone as the crazy Maria, also known as Cinderella’s secret godmother. The helping hands of the prince of questionable morals, Lord Pinkleton and Sebastian, were played by Brady Foley and Jonah Harmon.

This stacked cast also contributed to outstanding performances, and their dedication to curating an unforgettable musical theater experience shone through every moment they took the stage.