Pine City High School’s theater will be returning to the stage this fall with the classic “Cinderella.” This show has uncounted remakes and rewrites and retellings, but Pine City will be doing the most traditional and widely recognized version: “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” This is the high school’s first big show after the pandemic, and everyone is very excited to be getting back onstage after last year.

The director, Becky Schueller, has been following the school COVID policies and has been doing her best to keep rehearsals safe and fun for all of her students.

“Our words of choice for this year are ‘fast,’ ‘fluid,’ and ‘flexible,’” Schueller said. 

Rehearsals have been held in smaller groups and have been very focused on running as efficiently as possible. Of course, there are still challenges; Schueller talked about the difficulties surrounding COVID and quarantine. Unlike most school sports, there is not a junior varsity team to pull from if you need to fill a spot, nor is there a group of people on the bench or sidelines who can step in. The Pine City theater department relies entirely on its one and only cast. So, if one actor is in quarantine, there is a missing spot to work around.

Despite the challenges, Schueller has a lot she is excited about. Schueller expressed her excitement over this year’s cast: “There’s a lot of talent in the pool, and these kids haven’t had a lot of opportunities to be featured. There are some hidden gems here who have been with the program for a while, and they will be given the opportunity to show their diversity and talent.”

The show itself is also something to be excited for. Pine City High School has been doing musicals that feature big numbers and stories that rely on the music for their telling. “Cinderella,” however, will be far more reliant on the characters and dialogue. 

“It’s not going to be a big, flashy production, and that is not a bad thing,” Schueller said. The show’s elegant simplicity will provide a backdrop for the performers to really shine.

Becky Schueller is not the only one bursting with excitement. Pine City High School Junior Vivian Cavallin also had a few things to add. Cavallin will once again be gracing the Pine City stage, and this time as Cinderella.

“Growing up, every girl wants to be a princess, and now I get to be that for the next two months,” Cavallin said. “I feel very inspired and humbled.” 

Cavallin also expressed eagerness over stepping in as a mentor for new students and embracing this leadership role. The part she is most excited for is the iconic ballroom entrance.

“In every ‘Cinderella’ remake, Cinderella comes down the stairs and everybody just stops,” she said. “I think it will be a magical scene.”

The character of Cinderella has always been a phoenix-like symbol in the performance world, from getting Walt Disney out of debt to the concept of a young, beaten-down person recreating their lives. It seems appropriate for Pine City’s theatre department to rise from the ashes of COVID and take the stage with this classic heroine. 

Performances will be Nov. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 14 at 2 p.m.

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