News Release

The Prince is Having a Ball! The Classic Tale of Wishes, Love, and Acceptance in “Cinderella”

Cinderella 2024

Student actors took to the stage for singing, dancing, hopeful wishes, and glass slippers as the Southern Virginia University Theatre program presented the beloved Broadway adaptation of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Cinderella” on April 11, 13, and 19–20.

“I watched and loved the musical on TV growing up and when it was adapted into a Broadway show, and I was really excited to introduce it to this cast,” said guest director Kim Hirt. “It’s just a classic Cinderella story of kindness and doing what’s right, and I wanted to give an opportunity for lots of students to be involved.”

With several graduating seniors among the cast, Evelyn Melville (‘24), Ella Foutz (‘24), Ezekiel Gonzales (’26), and Aubrey Walker (‘25) were double-cast for the roles of Cinderella and Prince Topher respectively, alternating acting as the leads and ensemble members for the six performances.

“One of the coolest parts of this production for me has been the amazing friendship Evelyn and I have made and the neat way we’ve worked together to help each other succeed,” said Foutz. “Unlike Cinderella, I got to have someone ‘in my corner’ the whole way, and that has been an immeasurable blessing.”

With a slight twist to the classic story, Cinderella seizes the opportunity to open the prince’s eyes to the injustices his prime minister is inflicting on the kingdom when she learns the prince is hosting a masked ball to find his bride. Transformed by her fairy godmother, she’s surprised when she falls in love with the prince and must grapple with the desire to help her people with the risk of showing the prince who she really is.

“Cinderella has been such a memorable experience for me,” said Gonzales. “I’m so grateful for all the hard work that was put in by so many people that made this whole thing possible, and I’ll never forget the bonds that I made with my castmates. The goodness that has come from this process will always stay with me.”

Providing matinee showings for the first time post-pandemic, Kim Hirt, director of the local Blue Forrest Theatre Academy, served as the guest director. An orchestra of university professors, students, and alumni led by Assistant Professor of Music Megan Mason provided live music for the performances, with Assistant Professor of Music Mackenzie Romriell as the musical director. 

Alumnae Jessie Moala and Anna Taylor Goodmanson served as the choreographer and  costume designer respectively, with Martha Zimmerman as assistant director, Abigail Gray as stage manager, and Preston Rodriguez as head carpenter.

With 23 student actors, the cast was as follows:

Cinderella: Evelyn Melville (‘24)/Ella Foutz (‘24)*
Topher: Ezekiel Gonzales (’26)/Aubrey Walker (‘25)*
Marie: Talia Merrill (’25)
Madame: Martha Zimmerman (‘27)
Charlotte: Brea Moore (’24)
Gabrielle: Tess McGill (‘27)
Jean-Michel: Adam Afualo (‘27)
Sebastian: Cameron Morrison (‘27)
Lord Pinkleton: Aaron Miller (‘25)
Racoon/Driver/Ensemble: Brianna Gonzales (’24)
Fox/Driver/Ensemble: Clarissa Sexton (‘27)
Ensemble: Naomi Pack (’25)
Ensemble: Caroline Rasmussen (‘27)
Ensemble: Reagan Ford (‘26)
Ensemble: Chloe Barrus (’28)
Ensemble: Kyle Hedden (‘26)
Ensemble: Adelyn Kim (‘29)
Ensemble: Elizabeth Cheney (‘28)
Ensemble: Genevieve Horne (‘27)
Ensemble: Hannah Husted (‘27)
Ensemble: Maggie Chapman (‘27)
*alternated performances, joined ensemble during off performances