POULSBO — The cast of Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre’s “Cinderella” will have 117 hours of rehearsal time in by the time the curtain rises on opening night Nov. 1.
“It’s pretty intense,” said Edie Lau, whose daughter Riis Williams is one of the leads. “They love it and they’re exhausted.”
She added, “Costuming is really intense, because everyone is going to the ball, and you have to have ball gowns and formal wear for the ball, even if you’re in the chorus. Everyone has at least three sets of costumes, some have five.”
KCMT transforms North Kitsap Auditorium into the storybook world of Cinderella Nov. 1-11.
The production brings to the local stage — with song, dance, whimsical sets and sumptuous costumes — the age-old tale of a kind-hearted, hard-working girl who escapes her cruel stepmother and thickheaded stepsisters with the help of a fairy godmother to win the heart of a prince.
On costume nights Nov. 1 and 7, the audience can be part of the transformation: Any child dressed as a “Cinderella” character will have a chance to win a copy of the just-released Disney “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray Disc of “Cinderella.” The raffle winner also gets his or her photograph taken with the show’s Cinderella. Performers will be available after most shows for informal photographs with audience members as well.
KCMT’s “Cinderella” features music by Rodgers and Hammerstein and select numbers from Disney. The production showcases 115 performers ages 5-18 from Bainbridge Island to Bremerton.
Although young, most of the performers are old hands on stage, with experience in previous KCMT shows. Two of the leads, Tyler Sorensen and Riis Williams, are simultaneously rehearsing for performances of "The Nutcracker" with other theater companies — Tyler with In Motion Performing Arts Studio, Riis with Galletta School of Dance.
“Our cast members just get better and better with each show we do,” said Kerby Criss, executive director of the 12-year-old organization. “They are really knocking spectators’ socks off at rehearsals.”
She added, “The parents and teens on our all-volunteer staff are bringing more expertise with each new production.
KCMT is not a mom-and-pop organization. It is a well-oiled machine.”
As with all KCMT productions, the show presents rotating casts, enabling more participants to play leading roles. Cast A is led by Olivia Bentley of Bainbridge as Cinderella, Brian Moore of Poulsbo as the prince, Lauren Wolbaum of Poulsbo as the stepmother. Annie Sutherland and Havilah Criss, both of Poulsbo, portray Cinderella’s stepsisters. Shannon Bossom of Keyport portrays the fairy godmother. Cole Zieser of Bremerton portrays the prince’s assistant, Lionel, who tries to find the girl whose foot fits the glass slipper.
Cast B is led by Riis Williams as Cinderella, Tyler Sorensen as the prince and Peyton Miller as the stepmother. Meghan Ottomano and Hailey Hunter portray Cinderella’s stepsisters. Maya Adams portrays the fairy godmother. Peyton Martin portrays the prince’s assistant, Lionel. Peyton Martin is from Bremerton; all other Cast B leads are from Poulsbo.
Cast C is led by Kristin Sorensen of Poulsbo as Cinderella, Jackson Tucker of Poulsbo as the prince, Olivia Baker of Brownsville as the stepmother, and Samantha Johnson of Allyn and Kaylee Dressler of Kingston as the stepsisters. Caryn Young of Poulsbo is the fairy godmother. Josh Staker of Poulsbo is Lionel.
Being cast as Cinderella is a testament to Olivia Bentley’s persistence. She was eliminated after the first call back for Ovation’s “Fiddler on the Roof” and was placed in the chorus for KCMT’s “The Music Man.”
“I was shooting for the role of the queen or a stepsister,” Olivia said. “I never would have guessed I’d be cast as Cinderella … It was 1 in the morning when my mom and I saw the cast list online. It was after the last callback and we couldn’t sleep.”
Olivia is a busy 12-year-old who takes piano lessons in the morning, attends sixth-grade at Carden Country School, and studies ballet at Bainbridge Ballet. She gave up soccer so she could concentrate on “Cinderella.” She maintains balance in her life by getting a lot of her homework done during the day. Somehow, she doesn’t let her role distract her. “The songs are stuck in my head 24/7,” she said.
Samantha Johnson, who plays Cinderella’s stepsister Grace, commutes to rehearsals from Allyn in Mason County. The 15-year-old balances travel time, school studies and rehearsals with the skill of a college student. “It’s a 45-minute drive,” she said. “My parents are sticklers for having good grades, so I have a planner on my phone to keep track of everything. I’m determined to stay on top of it.”
This is her fifth KCMT play; she has been cast in progressively more prominent roles. She was in the chorus in “Oliver,” then was cast as Ado Annie in “Oklahoma,” Princess Gloria in “Wizard of Oz,” and Eulalie Shinn, the mayor’s wife, in “The Music Man.”
She was introduced to KCMT at a day camp. She loves the supportive environment of KCMT and the friendships she’s made — friendships that endure off stage. She and fellow actors get together for movie nights and video game nights.
“You can be yourself,” she said of KCMT. “People are so supportive of who you are, everyone is always there for you. It’s such a great place to be.”Samantha plans to audition for a C-STOCK play and pursue a college degree in theater arts. “I’d like to act on Broadway,” she said. “It’s not likely, but you’ve still got to dream.”
Peyton Martin said balancing rehearsals and performances with school is a big commitment. “I love singing and acting, so it’s really worth it,” said the 14-year-old home-schooler. “I’m getting better at acting, singing and dancing. If you ask for help, it’s there.”
Peyton may be a familiar face to KCMT patrons. He was in “Scrooge,” “Oliver,” “Oklahoma,” “Wizard of Oz,” and “The Music Man.” “In the first two plays, I was in the chorus, and I built up from there,” he said. “It helped me to work with others who got big roles.” He played the deputy of Oz in “Wizard” and Tommy Djilas, Harold Hill’s right-hand man, in “The Music Man.”
The biggest challenge of his role in “Cinderella”: Mastering an Irish/Scottish accent.
His future plans include auditioning for Actors, Models & Talent for Christ, which helps aspiring Christian performers with professional direction and industry introductions. Derek Morgan (“Law & Order,” “Joan of Arcadia”) is acting coach.
At A Glance
What: “Cinderella,” presented by KCMT.Where: North Kitsap Auditorium, 1881 NE Hostmark St., Poulsbo.
When: Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.; Nov. 2, at 7 p.m.; Nov. 3, at 3 and 7 p.m.; Nov. 4, at 2 and 6 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.; Nov. 9, at 7 p.m.; Nov. 10, at 3 and 7 p.m.; and Nov. 11, at 2 and 6 p.m.
Admission: Advance tickets $10-12 at www.kcmt.org; $12-14 at the door.
School performances: Nov. 1 and 6 at 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. Open to the public.