LE ROY -- The Le Roy High School musical promises to be a truly magical affair for everyone this year.
The production, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," includes special effects, surprises, audience participation and lots of glitz. Performances are set for 7 tonight through Saturday at Le Roy High School, 9300 South Street Rd.
Director Jacqueline McLean says that after last year's production of "Little Shop of Horrors" -- which played to a more mature audience -- she decided a family friendly show would be fun.
"The idea is to get the family out to the theater and get the younger kids involved," McLean says.
"Cinderella" will include interactive elements, with some of the action taking place in the audience and down the aisles. Young audience members are also invited to take park in a special way. Children in third grade and younger who dress up like a prince or princess will receive a small gift, McLean says.
"I can't wait to see all the little girls wearing their costumes. The interaction gets people more involved, the kids are really going to like it. I can't wait to see their reactions," says senior Grace Kovach, who stars in the title role.
McLean notes this is not Disney's "Cinderella," but that the Rodgers and Hammerstein's version includes "music that is just as accessible and enjoyable."
This year, auditions were opened up to 7th and 8th graders in addition to high school students, she says.
"We want to give them the opportunity as well," she says. "We want to build the program."
Kovach says she is enjoying playing Cinderella, but this year is somewhat bittersweet.
"It's kind of sad. It's my last year," she says, "but I get to act with my sister." Her sister, Margaret, plays Cinderella's fairy godmother.
The role of Cinderella is demanding, with the character appearing in almost every scene, "but it doesn't seem like a lot of work because you have so much fun," Kovach says.
Junior Jayce Seeley plays the role of the Prince -- a big change from his memorable performance last year as cranky Mr. Mushnik in "Little Shop of Horrors."
"Last year I could be goofy," Seeley says, "This year is surreal. You're supposed to act like you're in love."
Seeley says he was familiar only with the Disney version of the story before taking part in this production.
"I had to do a little research for the Rodgers and Hammerstein version," he says.
Ashley Webb, a sophomore, and Erica Parker, a junior, play two of Cinderella's ugly step sisters -- Portia and Joy. They provide much of the physical comedy for the show.
Both say they relish their roles, but admit they sometimes have a hard time keeping a straight face delivering lines. Their characters are also supposed to hate each other, which the girls say is difficult because they're such good friends.
"We're really snotty to Cinderella with the exception of one scene," Webb says.
Parker says their make-up will help them live up to their title of "ugly." Her character, Joy, will have lots of extra padding.
"I have to waddle," she says, "and we're going to have prosthetic noses."
".... and moles on our faces," adds Webb.
And that's not all. Webb and Parker say their costumes include "inflatable butts" to help round out their characters' full figures.
The girls say they've enjoyed learning formal dances for the ball scene. "I got to learn how to waltz," Webb says.
They both look forward to interacting with the audience during the show.
"It's going to be really magical with a lot of glitter," Webb notes.
"I think people will like it," Parker adds.
A Quick Look
WHAT: Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," by Le Roy High School students.
WHERE: Le Roy High School, 9300 South Street Rd., Le Roy.
WHEN: 7 tonight thorugh Saturday.
TICKETS: $8. Available in advance at the high school office and online at www.leroycsd.org, and, if available, at the door.