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A packed audience sits in the Southmoreland High School auditorium on March 22, excited chatter blending with the sound of the pit orchestra warming up. The lights dim, sound fading away as faded blue lights set the mood.
“Welcome to Southmoreland’s first musical in over 40 years, Cinderella,” student director senior Jake Smithula announces over the speaker. After Smithula gives a few more words of instruction to the audience, the curtain opens to Fairy Godmother, sophomore Abby Whitlatch, blue dress glimmering in the light.
“Before (the show) started, I was so full of emotion,” Whitlatch said. “But as soon as that curtain opened, I wasn’t myself anymore. I became the Fairy Godmother.”
Behind the scenes, student directors juniors Erin Polakovsky and Colin Sherbondy are helping out with costumes, sets, and more.
“As student director, I do pretty much everything nobody else wants to do, and I love it,” Polakovsky said. “I run around like a fool chicken with my head cut off! I run lines with the cast, hang up signs and promote the show…If it’s minuscule, and it’s done, I probably did it.”
Sherbondy also worked hard for the musical.
“I managed the stage crew and all the movement of props and scene changes,” Sherbondy said. “Basically, if you came behind the scenes, I’d be the one to give the tour.”
Students began rehearsing for the musical in January, and the student directors agree that the cast is “positive and diverse” and like “family.”
“I’m proud enough to have cried 14 times in public over these guys,” Polakovsky said. “I love them all so much. I feel so privileged and lucky to student direct this amazing, lovely production.”
“This group of students are some of the absolute best people ever,” Sherbondy said. “They are some of my closest friends now, and I’m so glad that my first musical experience was this one.”
The students received a standing ovation on their opening night, which filled the cast with pride.
“I hugged six or seven people backstage, cried, cheered, and screamed my head off,” Polakovsky said.
“To hear the sound of so many people cheering for us and loving what we did is absolutely thrilling,” Sherbondy said.
The student directors encourage Southmoreland students and community to come see the show this weekend.
“Tickets are selling really quickly, we already have one show almost sold out,” Polakovsky said. “It makes me proud that so many people believe in us.”
“This was our school’s way of saying ‘We can do anything, as long as we try hard enough.’ After forty years, it was time to give the fans what they asked for and I think it was beautifully done with Cinderella,” Sherbondy said. “I can’t even express how thrilled I am for the next shows on (March) 23, 24, and 25.”
Show dates for Cinderella are March 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 2 p.m. Doors open a half an hour before showtime, and tickets can be purchased at the door. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $10 for adults. For more information, visit http://southmorelandmusical.net.