‘Cinderella, A New Pop Musical’ in the works at Grossmont College’s Summer Theatre Arts Program

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Wheels are churning at Stagehouse Theatre in Grossmont College’s Theatre Arts department, and Cinderella is riding shotgun.

“Cinderella A New, Pop Musical” will be presented beginning July 23 at Stagecoach Theatre, by GCC’s second annual Summer Theatre Arts Conservatory program, a combination of college and high-school actors and stage technicians partnering to produce a play. The program prepares students for four-year universities and technical opportunities in theatre.

Wheels are churning at Stagehouse Theatre in Grossmont College’s Theatre Arts department, and Cinderella is riding shotgun.

“Cinderella A New, Pop Musical” will be presented beginning July 23 at Stagecoach Theatre, by GCC’s second annual Summer Theatre Arts Conservatory program, a combination of college and high-school actors and stage technicians partnering to produce a play. The program prepares students for four-year universities and technical opportunities in theatre.

Fifty-four year old Stagecoach Theatre carries mystique of its past performers, while today’s aspiring grasp the reins. Empty seats watch actors and actresses in shorts and sandals, vacant of costumes, yet charisma occupies the set in rehearsals. 

“They won’t have two different socks on in the play,” joked Theatre Operations Facilitator Alexis Poko.

Classic characters wait for their return to the stage in Grossmont’s Theatre department’s costume room, full of minks, capes, canes and masks, history is alive and waiting.

Costume Constructor Arianna Ibanez began her craft at Grossmont, and currently works at prestigious Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado and Downtown.

“The program here taught me everything I know,” she said. 

Costume Designer and Clarks Scholarship winner, Sandra Navarro, is one of 30 students dedicated to the Summer Conservatory program. 

“I spend more time here then I spend at home,” she said. 

Students’ commitment to the program are credited to GCC’s unique approach to teaching more than theatre production.

“We teach students how to creatively solve problems, how to work with a group of people, and the last thing we teach that can’t be impressed enough, we teach deadline,” said Craig Everett, GCC Chair and Technical Director of theatre arts.

“You don’t get to say the dog swallowed my homework, we have people in their watching, you have to be done.”

Everett has been with the program for 15 years, and supervises students in Scene Shop, where students customize and build their own backdrops and other stage props.

GCC staff supervise, teach, and assist in play production. Theatre Instructor Jeanette Thomas wrote “Cinderella A New, Pop Musical,” and GCC owns its licensing rights. 

“It’s an interesting experience, it’s an entirely new show written by one of our own directors,” said student Kiely Giard, who will play Cinderella’s Godmother. 

“That’s unique, you don’t get to do that a lot in theatre especially on the college level.”

Audiences will see a new version of the Cinderella story never performed before. 

“For parents it’s a lot of music that you’ll remember from when you were younger, everybody knows the story but it’s told in a really unique way with the music,” said Lorena Ruggero, Director of College and Community relations.

“For young people to see a live theatrical production it’s a big deal. Last year we had elementary age students from La Mesa-Spring Valley extended care, and after seeing the show one of the students said, ‘that was my favorite movie,’ for a lot of young people this is their first exposure to theatre.”

GCC is focused on keeping students involved with art, and their Summer Conservatory program is at the heart of their cause. Poko and GCC theatre staff have embarked on a journey, and Stagecoach Theatre is their transportation to inspiring the community.

“Theatre art is an element of love and our journey is to keep our arts alive for our next generation.” 

This production runs July 23 to July 30. For tickets go online at www.grossmont.edu/theatrebrochure, or call Stagehouse Theatre box office at (619) 644-7234.

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