Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
Comedy is the main draw for Peacock Player’s Cinderella
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peacock Players started their two-weekend run of Cinderella Friday at the 14 Court St. Theatre in Nashua, using a shortened-for-family-entertainment version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show that was written for television. Most of the leads are teenagers who have had plenty of stage time, and they throw in plenty to laugh at in this version.
The Peacock Players’ new artistic director, Keith Weirich, has appeared in Broadway and national tours as well and has performed for more than 25 years. He also has a connection with Julie Andrews, for whom the musical was written. Weirich sought her advice and incorporated her ideas to condense the 1957 Cinderella from three acts to two.
The kids in the show also added, Weirich said. The stepsisters Joan-Seda Bejaniance (Lucinda), a veteran Peacock Player, and Stephanie Hogan (Drucilla), who has performed at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, are pretty much a show unto themselves whether they are trading zingers or hamming up a musical number.
Brady Lynch, a junior from Souhegan High School, portrays a big-hearted, zany godmother perfectly. She looks like she’s gently inspiring confidence in the forlorn, pushover Cinderella, but that attitude seems less like an act while she’s leading the cast’s youngest characters, the cinderfairies, through a dance on stage.
The king and queen, played by Billy Steeves and Kathleen Sexton of Merrimack High School, did well portraying a tender married couple, particularly for teenagers. They kept the audience in hysterics, especially with one of Steeves’ jokes that involved a prolonged reference to his beer gut. Sexton is wrapping up her Peacock career with Cinderella before majoring in musical theater at Plymouth State College.
The steward, played by Brad Koed, who had the lead in Flowers for Algernon, was only on stage for a short time but brought the house down with lines such as, “I got a new fragrance, I smell like a floral sanctuary.”
Even at almost 50 years old, the show’s scenarios are still familiar. A father tells his son to act happy so as not to disappoint his mother. A mother tells her son that thinking you are in love with someone you met briefly doesn’t mean that you are going to find that person and live happily ever after. But of course, this is a fairy tale.
The show featured a live band behind the backdrop of clock gears, and they used a projection of a clock on the stage floor for the clock striking midnight.
In another Julie Andrews connection, the Peacock Players will be putting on The Sound of Music for their parent show in August..