Review: Classic tale, talented cast combine for show

Published 10:30am Friday, June 27, 2014

A classic tale and a tremendously talented young cast combine for another wonderful Brookhaven Little Theatre production this weekend as the BLTeens present “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” at The Haven in downtown Brookhaven.

The musical, featuring more than 30 teenagers from across Brookhaven and Lincoln County, as well as from several surrounding counties, opened Thursday night.

Future performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 nightly and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door, which opens 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Courtney Crosby, a Bogue Chitto High School graduate now attending Mississippi State, is captivating in the title role as she deftly handles the transition from servant for her stepmother and stepsisters to the beautiful and mysterious guest at the Prince’s Ball. Crosby’s musical ability is in top form as she sings “In My Own Little Corner” in the first act.

Helping Cinderella find out that anything is possible is Kayla Fortson, who plays the Fairy Godmother who also disguises herself in town as Crazy Marie. Fortson, a veteran of several BLTeens productions, is perfect in the role – even if her magic wand doesn’t react so perfectly all the time.

Of course, nearly every fairy tale prince has to be charming. Caleb Smith, as Prince Christopher, certainly fits that bill as he dances with Cinderella at the Ball and then pursues her after she runs away.

Anna Noble, as the stepmother, and Faith Turnage and Reagan Whittington, as stepsisters Joy and Portia, respectively, are appropriately snooty, mean and condescending to Cinderella. The audience will love seeing them get their comeuppance.

Zach Hutson and Lauren Sasser are great as Prince Christopher’s parents. Sasser, as Queen Constantina, handles the regal role with ease and Hutson, as King Maximillian, has several funny one-liners.

Austin Showers also lends a comedic touch as the royal herald. He shares a brief but humorous scene with the town’s girls as he searches for the wearer of the glass slipper that was left at the Prince’s Ball.

Rounding out the cast, serving as Villagers, Palace Staff and Ballroom Guests, are Breanna Boyles, Morgyn Brister, Sydney Brister, Daniel Clark, Dakota Gray, Grayson Falvey, Jack Lowery, Gabe Mosley, Madison Mosely, Erin Gibson, Natalie McKenzie, Gavin O’Rorke, Shannon Pendleton, Katelyn Roberts, Johanna Russell, Jenna Segura, Josh Smith, Noah Smith, Ryan Smith, Jaylynn Thompson, Maddie Thompson and Tykeria Thadison.

Bringing all the talent together has been executive director Jana Russell and co-directors Austin Brister and Logan Cap. Their efforts have resulted in another strong play in a string of great BLTeens productions in recent years.

Denise Riley serves as music director, and Phoenix McKissack choreographed the production’s dance scenes. Further helping to set the stage were Sherri Mathis as costume mistress and scenic design by Jessica Redd and Colin Morace.

Greg Russell does a fine job as producer and lighting director.

In the final scene of Act One, Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother debate and sing about the impossible and what’s possible.

What’s impossible is the audience not enjoying the BLTeens’ production of “Cinderella.” Don’t miss it this weekend at The Haven.