Fairy tale fans will have something to smile about this weekend. Two Fox Valley high schools, Larkin and Huntley, are performing the classic tale "Cinderella."
The Daily Herald checked in with Eduardo Hernandez, director of Larkin's production, and Kate Duchene, who directs Huntley's, to learn more about each show.
If you goWhat: Huntley and Larkin high schools' productions of "Cinderella"
Huntley performances: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 14-15; and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at 13719 Harmony Road, Huntley. Tickets are $5; call (847) 659-6600.
Larkin performances: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-16, at 1475 Larkin Ave., Elgin. Tickets are $6; call (847) 888-5200.
Q. Why did you choose "Cinderella" as your fall play?
Kate Duchene. I have never done a children's show. Last year we did a romantic comedy, so it seemed time to do something for the kids. This adaptation by William Glennon has some twists on the story that will surprise and entertain.
Eduardo Hernandez. When we were searching for a play for this fall, we stopped the search the moment this version of "Cinderella" stood in front of our eyes. It's not Disney's version. Ours is a more comedic version with a human side. This time, the story begins with Cinderella, an 8-year-old young girl that loves to go fishing with her widowed father.
Q. What have been some of the challenges in putting together this production?
Duchene. I am not a dancer, so I brought in a student choreographer, Kaelin Lopriore, to help. Kaelin has lots of dance experience, but very little theater, so working together was challenging but very rewarding for the entire team. Our other big challenge is the fact that we only get two weeks onstage to build the set, hang lights and run the show.
Hernandez. This production has many challenges. Probably the first one is how to give a well-known story a new face. I believe that the storyline and the comedy that exists help make this challenge a reality. Another challenge was teaching this cast to dance, when many of them were "allergic" to dance at the beginning. In this case, (we received) help from our choreographer, senior dance student Julia Burch. Because of her, (the actors) have been able to move with beautiful rhythm.
Q. What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of putting together this show? Is there anything that has surprised you?
Duchene. I am used to doing more realistic makeups and costumes, so getting to be silly with our blocking and look of this show has been quite fun. The cast includes many students I have not worked with in the past, so it is also been a blast getting to see them perform.
Hernandez. One of the things that I always like is when we put a cast together that brings a variety of students. We have a combination of all the levels of the Drama Academy, plus students that like to do theater. We also have music students that will play and create sound effects through the show.
Q. What do you think the audience will like best about this show?
Duchene. It's the classic story, but it's not the same old show, which keeps it from being boring. Also, the stepsisters are hilarious.
Hernandez. I'm sure the audience will appreciate the comedy and the illusion of the utopia that the story brings.
Q. What makes this show special, unique or different?
Duchene. Before Cinderella arrives at the ball, we are going to do a royal parade and invite the children from the audience to come up onstage to meet the Prince. We are encouraging the audience to come dressed up in party dresses, tiaras, etc., to really make them a part of the show.
Hernandez. This show is unique in the sense that, although it brings a story that everybody knows, we just tell it in a different way.