The Poteet Theatre at St. Luke’s Church in Oklahoma City has a comprehensive arts education program. Classes are available for all ages with private lessons in voice, acting, piano and guitar as well. The summer children’s productions provide younger students with excellent experience to follow up on the instruction they are receiving. These children’s productions utilize students with limited experience alongside more advanced students to create a production where all the children can shine.
Director and Choreographer Shawna Linck has the daunting task of correlating 8 separate casts for the current production of “Cinderella” based on the Anderson, Brightman Disney screenplay. As a result there are 4 ‘Bobbidi’ casts appearing June 7-10 and 4 ‘Bibbidi’ casts appearing June 14-17. Performances are Thursday through Sunday with two performances to give each cast exposure. All of the lead actors play ensemble cast members on their ‘off’ nights so not only does everyone get some lead experience, they also get general experience.
This also gives the audience an opportunity to see the other Cinderella’s in action without attending all specific shows. The cast being reviewed here is ‘Bobbidi cast D’ from Saturday nights 8pm performance. As the number of total cast members is at least 150, it is impossible to recognize each and every Cinderella and wicked stepmother performing, but clearly each and every cast member, regardless of age and experience, gives an even performance with poise and clarity.
In a show for children with the majority of children performers one often makes allowances; yet no allowances are taken by the charming cast. Quoting a fellow audience member “….It’s a good show for kids. If you have some, you might think about taking them. Plus, there are children dressed as mice and they are cute as buttons. Cuter even.” Clearly the mice in the production are adorable and, looking at the program one notes the performances of those mice assuming lead roles in other production as exceedingly polished.
Saturday night’s production features Daraja Stewart as Cinderella. Her interpretation of the Disney version gives substance to the character adding dimension to the role. Stewart has a sweet voice and lovely presence. Phoebe Hunter is the beautiful Fairy Godmother and the combined sweetness of the two is delightfully offset by the wicked stepmother and sisters. Kayla Jennings develops a saccharine cruel streak for the stepmother and the sisters are played by Jordan Absher as Anastasia and Margaret Patterson as Drizilla. Patterson’s flamboyance creates a lot of fun along with Absher’s irritating whine.
Prince Charming is deliciously portrayed by Dakota Muckelrath and exceptional performances captivate when the emotionally retarded King (Joe Grotta) and his trusty retainer Ben White take the stage.
Educational Arts programs for children help so much to teach other academic subjects, fostering a well-rounded background. Many of these kids could go on to be professional artists and of those who don’t enter the creative fields, they always find that their creative intelligence lends a great deal to any endeavor. These programs also foster self-esteem. While the program at St. Luke’s seems complicated to arrange with the varied cast permutations, Linck does an excellent job of bringing out the very best in all the students.
For more information on the arts program or any of these performances visit www.poteettheatre.com or call 405-609-1023. St. Luke’s Church sponsors the activities of the Poteet Theatre and the Educational Arts Program and is conveniently located at 222 NW 15th Street in Oklahoma City. “Cinderella” has two performances each day, Thursday through Saturday at 6 and 8pm and Sunday at 2 and 4pm.