Holiday season kicks off at WCT with a musical classic

The chorus belts with the best of them in the Whidbey Children’s Theater production of “Cinderella.” Fom left are Emma Lungren

The first century Greek historians called her “Rhodopis,” “the rosy-cheeked.”

Perhaps that’s why the prince was so smitten.

Later, she had the name of “Aelian,” surprisingly associated with the sixth century Thracian courtesan.

In 860 A.D. China she was “Ye Xian,” a lovely, hardworking girl who befriends a fish, the reincarnation of the girl’s mother. The fish is killed by Ye Xian’s stepmother, of course.

“Anne de Fernandez” was the title character in a medieval Filipino tale in which she also befriends a fish; a talking one named Gold-Eyes.

The Japanese version stars “Chujo-hime,” who runs away from her evil stepmother with the help of Buddhist nuns and then joins their convent.

The ancient Celtic people called her “Critheanach,” and in the German version of the Brother’s Grimm her name was “Ann del Taclo” in a tale called “Aschenputtel.”

In Korea she is called “Kongji,” while the earliest European tale is the Italian “La Gatta Cenerentola” or “The Hearth Cat.”

This version formed the basis of later versions published by the French author Charles Perrault which became the familiar story of “Cinderella” that is well-known today.

But basically, all versions of the story turn out the same way.

Cinderella is the sweet, ready-to-please girl treated cruelly by her stepfamily who subject her to an overly laborious life and the lonely respite of sitting at the hearth by the fire.

Cinderella gets her comeuppance, however, and wins the hand of the handsome prince in the end, much to the dismay of her stepmom and her large-footed stepsisters.

The moral of the story: Beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless and without it nothing is possible.

But with it, one can do anything.

The gracious and talented children of the Whidbey Children’s Theater certainly know what’s possible on the stage. Especially when they get to sing and dance their hearts out.

This year, WCT presents Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s musical version of “Cinderella” for its holiday production tonight, tomorrow and through two more weekends.

Directors Linda McLean and Elizabeth Herbert said this musical version of the play is perfect entertainment for the entire family, with something for everyone — even special effects.

Audiences are treated to such song favorites as “The Prince Is Giving A Ball,” “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible,” “Ten Minutes Ago” and “A Lovely Night.”

The cast features several veterans of the Whidbey stage, including Carrie Walker as Cinderella, Erik Sundquist as the prince, Jasmine O’Brochta as the fairy godmother, Nicki Fjelsted as the evil step-mother, and Kim McLean and Justine Coomes as the not-so-nice step-sisters.

The long list of talent continues with Evan Elwell, Katie Ewing, Rachel Arand, Coel Cable, Austin Drake, Sommer Harris, Roman Jiles, Dominique Knight, Emma Lungren, Audrey Neubauer, Andrea O’Brochta, Tyler O’Brochta, Emmaline Russell, Sarah Wilson, Alyssa Woodbury and Jenny Zisette rounding out the cast.

The show is produced by Betsy Arand; Zora Lungren is assistant director and stage manager; Valerie Johnson does the costumes; Rob Stewart built the set and designed the lights; and the sound technician is Diana Drake.

Cinderella plays at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, today through Dec. 14. Tickets are available at 221-2282.