By Greg Loughli
Have you ever looked for love at a party? Have you ever wanted an opportunity to shine? Have you ever needed a Fairy Godmother and the power of community to find yourself?
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a classic tale encompassing all these experiences, and the Maynard Jackson High School (MJHS) Theater Company is telling it anew in their current production.
Set in New Orleans during the Jazz Age, with an extraordinarily diverse cast, this is not your grandparents’ Cinderella. “This project is super important to me because growing up as an Asian girl in America, I did not have Disney princesses who looked like me,” says Minnah Dunlap, an MJHS junior playing Cinderella. “I am a multitude of different cultures and backgrounds, so it is a hard one to get right. Now I am my own Disney Princess.”
Over 35 students make up the cast, company, and crew. Such a large-scale production provided opportunities for students without a theater program to join as well. For example, Kaden Childress, a North Clayton High School junior, plays the character of Jean-Michel with great warmth and passion. “This is my first musical,” he says. “I’m so excited about this opportunity!”
“This is a special production because we are a grant recipient of the Craig Zadan Foundation Racial Equity grant, one of only three schools in the nation to be chosen,” says Adrienne Edwards, Director of Theater at Maynard Jackson. “We are also the only grant-receiving school who has been invited to perform this summer at the International Thespian Festival in Indiana. This is a first for a school in the Atlanta Public School system and we are honored to perform.”
Shows were held in March at the June Cofer Auditorium at MJHS, 801 Glenwood Avenue. Find out more about the MJHS Theater Company and how you can help at www.mhjhsarts.org.