by Debbie Hall
Vegas City Opera kicks off Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic Under the Stars at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
Vegas City Opera waves its magic wand over the world’s most beloved fairytale for the Super Summer Theater opening season through July 1.
This delightfully romantic take on the ultimate makeover story promises some hilarious new twists! Discover Cinderella’s sassier side in this entertaining Broadway musical for dreamers of all ages. The version being performed is the show created for Broadway, which officially opened on March 3, 2013, starring Laura Osnes as Cinderella and Santino Fontana as the Prince.
As for the vision of Skip Galla Katipunan, artistic director, he admitted that he explored how to make this relevant for 2023. “It is funny, modern and tongue-in-cheek, and quite clever.”
“We have wanted to develop this production since 2019 and were selected to produce the show for March 2020. We all know what happened so we pitched it again last year. This will be the third production we have done with Super Summer Theatre and can present opera to a new audience,” says Skip.
Cinderella is the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television. On March 31, 1957, Cinderella starring Julie Andrews and Jon Cypher, was broadcast on CBS. A second version was broadcast in 1965, featuring Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. The 1997 version starred Brandy Norwood in the title role, with Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. Both remakes add songs from other Richard Rodgers musicals.
Kayla Wilkens, who performs as Cinderella, was introduced to the character by her mother while watching the 1965 version.
“We would sing the songs, even now, so the show is part of our family,” explains Kayla. “When I was young, the version starring Brandy and Whitney Houston was broadcast and I was so excited and magical. Whitney would sing ‘There is Music in You,’ which is one of the songs we perform in our version. Several elements from the previous television versions were incorporated when the new version debuted on Broadway in 2013. Magic was taken from each one of the productions and made it something new and fresh.”
Originally from Salem, Oregon, Kayla performed opera growing up and obtained two degrees in music and works professionally throughout the country performing opera and musical theater. She has worked with several opera companies and performed in many productions in Southern Nevada. “There is a vibrant musical community here for the locals.”
Jadah-Cheri Ellis, who performs as the Fairy Godmother, brings sass and soul to the character.
While some people might associate the role with Whitney Huston, “I like to think that I bring a little of the world to the role since it is a timeless musical. I was allowed to use my creative process to find the Fairy Godmother in me and what I could bring to the table. I encompass a modern day’ church mamma’ while paying homage to the other performers.” Her robust and mixed-belt singing style showcases her musical training and gospel training.
Jadah-Cheri graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, a magnet high school located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. Students are accepted through an audition process pursuing a major in performing or visual arts. While performing in theater in Southern Nevada, she also performs in All Motown featuring the Duchesses of Motown at Alexis Park All-Suite Resort. She also attends the College of Southern Nevada, so Ellis plans to spend some time in Las Vegas.
Vegas City Opera uses the world around to tell stories in a distinct and accessible way with a passionate voice of an indispensable art form. They are here to bring music to the community and visitors. Visit vegascityopera.org and follow on Facebook @ vegascityopera.org and Instagram @ vegascityopera.
Cinderella, presented by Vegas City Opera and Super Summer Theater, will be performed at Mountain Ranch State Park through July 1. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park requires a $10 fee per vehicle per entrance, except for annual pass holders. No pets are allowed, including emotional support animals. Only Stadium chairs are approved for the only blanket area available for rent. Parking opens at 5 p.m., the meadow opens at 6 p.m., and the show begins at 8:05 p.m. Everyone will be home well before the stroke of midnight! Visit supersummertheatre.org. Follow on Facebook @ SuperSummerTheatreNV, Instagram @ supersummertheatre and Twitter @ SSTFolks.