Cinderella will be a wonderful mash of costume, colours, music and song with a Disney theme when it hits the Empire Stage this Friday to Sunday as Toowoomba Choral Society’s (TCS) musical performance for 2013.

Director Adrian Smith said his cast of 70 actors/singers/dancers had all worked very hard on this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and there are some spectacular dance numbers. “I have gone for a Disney/child friendly approach with the characters all larger than life and very animated but not farcical,” Adrian said. “The songs are not well known but do make an impression and I am sure people should be whistling the songs for a while after the musical is long over.

“I am amazed at the talent on offer as all leads can sing exceptionally well and dance and act… I’m rather jealous actually,” Adrian laughed.

It has been a long rehearsal period and the backstage workers were still putting the last touches to props and the set design by Andreas Elms late last week. The lead roles are Cinderella (Shannon Gralow); the Prince (John Maskell); the Wicked Stepmother (Mary Quade), the Ugly Stepsisters (Anna Marangelli and Lisa Skerman); and the Fairy Godmother (Callie Gibbings), King (Russell Reynolds) and Queen (Vicki Bravery).

Musical direction is by Nerida Eckert and the choreographer is Rebecca Stanley. The wonderful costumes are again overseen by Deborah Nairn.

A familiar face to Toowoomba musical lovers is Shannon Gralow as Cinderella. Shannon teaches music at Toowoomba Preparatory School and has been involved in TCS and Empire Theatre musical productions for many years. Playing the lead role of Dusty Springfield in last year’s extremely popular production of Dusty, the Original Pop Diva was a highlight for Shannon but she is just as excited about playing Cinderella. “It’s for everyone – parents and children. In fact some of the humour will definitely appeal to parents while drifting over children’s heads,” said Shannon. “In some ways it’s a romcom (romance comedy). The two Ugly Stepsisters are hilarious and over-the-top with make-up, comedy and costumes.

“The Wicked Stepmother is a dark character but I’ve given my Cinderella a bit of an attitude.”

Shannon said she had given ‘her’ Cinderella a bit of backbone and used sarcastic delivery to ensure the audience knew that this Cinderella wouldn’t end up sad and sorry stuck in the house forever. She wants out!

“I love the transformation scene of Cinderella into her ball gown,” she said. “There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors to get me out of my rags into the ball gown. We want to create a really magical effect and we even have a beautiful full size Princess Coach coming from the Gold Coast for the show.”

Shannon said that after the intensity of playing Dusty last year, she has just enjoyed being in a musical that is so beautiful and fun.

Tickets for the four performance of Cinderella from Friday to Sunday can be purchased through the Empire Theatre Box Office in Neil Street.




Julie Carter