Bippity Boppity Boo: It will be a Ball as Drama Students Bring ‘Cinderella’ to Nanuet’s Auditorium this Weekend


Students all across the Nanuet School District are looking forward to the magical experience of the spring musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s production of the beloved fairy tale, Cinderella. Taking place this March 10th and 11th at 8 pm, an almost unthinkable amount of work and dedication has taken place over the last few months to make the musical a reality.

Ms. Shannon Cokeley, the director of the musical, offered a glimpse of what goes into preparing for such a large production. Even making the decision of what show to choose requires a lot of thought and consideration, according to Ms. Cokeley. 

“It was extra hard to choose a musical for this year,” she said. “A lot of things go into deciding what musical is best to do each spring. Most importantly, we have to consider the students we have remaining after seniors graduate and we always hope incoming freshmen will come out to audition. It is important to me to always pick a show that will show off Nanuet’s talent the best.”

Cinderella was a very fitting choice for our drama club, according to Mrs. Elaine Royal, a retired music teacher at Nanuet. She has returned to assist in the pit orchestra’s preparation for playing alongside the many talented singers and actors on stage, which she explains has long been one of her favorite jobs. There is nothing quite like seeing a story come to life through music and theater and having an audience see it all for the first time, according to Mrs. Royal. 

“This particular version of Cinderella is very well suited to High School singers and instrumentalists,” said Mrs. Royal. “The keys are well within a comfortable vocal range and the orchestration is well balanced and very accessible. The story is, of course, timeless, and the music is some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most memorable.”

Of course, in order for all the intricacies of each scene and song to hit just right, every member of the cast and crew has worked hard for hours each night after school, getting into character and striving for the best.

“During rehearsals students go through blocking with Ms. Cokeley, work on choreography with Kelcey and learn their music with me, as music director,” explained Mrs. Royal. “We work first on learning all the basic nuts and bolts and then, as we get further into the process, the work is on refining and perfecting (as much as possible!) everything they have set in place. The best part of rehearsing is seeing the creativity and enthusiasm students bring to the process.”

Yet, rehearsals aren’t just hard work. Senior Leah Swanwick, who stars as Cinderella, emphasizes how much the whole team has grown together as they put together the show. 

“My favorite part of rehearsal is the dedication each rehearsal brings,” Swanwick said. “Rehearsals are not always strict either. All the hard work we have been doing throughout these last couple of months is finally going to be shown to friends and family and it’s such a good feeling. Each cast and crew member is very valuable to the show and each aspect can’t be done without them.”

Mrs. Cokeley agreed; without the dedication of all the students, there would be no wonderful results.

“I am most proud of our drama members for how hard they work,” she said. “It is not an easy process and sometimes it feels like we are living at school because we are here so often! But it always pays off. The hard work and dedication these drama students give to this process is so special and amazing to witness. It is incredible to see the fun creativity actors bring to rehearsals and to see their character develop from the first rehearsal to the last show. As we start coming together and begin to use the stage, set pieces, lights, live music, all at the same time, that is when we all start to see the show come to life and appreciate what we are working so hard for.”

Finally, Swanwick explained how much this upcoming musical means to her as an artist, student, and person. Her thoughts on her role as a character give a moving glimpse of what the musical, both the process of rehearsing and performing, can mean to someone.

“Cinderella has been my favorite princess ever since I was a kid,” she recalled. “I remember being five and going to Disney World dressed as Cinderella from top to bottom. Me and my mom were in a line waiting to meet her and I turned around and said ‘I cant believe those girls don’t believe that’s the real Cinderella!’ It feels so surreal that I am playing this character considering I’ve been looking up to this princess for practically my whole life. The musical itself is so heartwarming and above all absolutely beautiful. I’m so excited for people to come see it, it’s not something anyone would want to miss on.”

The whole process of preparing for the musical has even more meaning to Swanwick since she will soon be graduating. Whether it be for the audience or the actors, this musical is bound to hold layers of meaning to everyone around it.

“When performing, I’m usually very excited,” she said. “This time around, it’s very bittersweet because it’s my last time performing on the Nanuet stage. I’m still very excited mostly because I can’t wait to show the audience this amazing story we’ve brought to life.”