Dartmouth Middle School to bring ‘Cinderella’ to the stage

Nov 8, 2023

Audience members at Dartmouth Middle School Drama’s next performance might not know every song in the show, but they certainly will know the story. 

“We still find the glass slipper and they fall in love and live happily ever after,” said Alex Bernardo, director and drama teacher. “Everyone, even if they don’t know this version, they know the story of Cinderella.”

That story comes to life on Nov. 17 and 18 in the middle school’s auditorium, with a performance of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, adapted for a youth cast. 

The show was directed by Bernardo, with assistant direction by Karen McDaid, choreography by Kathy Gaspar, musical direction by Tara Thomas and technical direction by Adam Desjardins. 

The drama department tries to bring a new energy to each year’s show. Last year’s “Newsies” featured a minimal set, but was “all about dance, dance, dance,” Bernardo said. This year, “Cinderella” features a new time period, new costumes and more classical songs. 

Disney’s “Cinderella” does not have a stage adaptation, for adults or youth, but Bernardo also has an affinity for the original show: “I grew up watching a version of this all the time, probably wore out the VHS,” he said. 

Julie Andrews famously played the lead role, but Brandy and Whitney Houston also appeared in a popular 90s version. Still, the Disney version has had a large impact, so attendees “might see a familiar colored dress” at the middle school’s play. 

Eighth grader Bryce Clancy, who plays the Prince, “always loved the movie, just because of the love aspect.”

Clancy’s favorite scene is when he goes around to each girl with the glass slipper to find his princess, played by 7th grader Mia DeRossi-Goldberg. 

DeRossi-Goldberg’s favorite moment needs to be kept a little secretive to maintain the surprise, Bernardo said, but it involves Cinderella’s dress. 

“It’s really fun to watch,” DeRossi-Goldberg said. “I’m actually not acting when I’m reacting to everything.”

The annual play is a big moment for the drama class, when all of their hard work and practice finally pays off. 

Bernardo has seen some students participate all three years in the class, and watched their skills and confidence grow. 

“They’re role models for some of the younger students,” Bernardo said. 

Clancy, now in eighth grade, said he’ll miss coming to drama class and seeing all of the familiar faces, though he plans to continue on into the high school theater program. 

“It will definitely be different not seeing this theater all the time,” Clancy said. “It’s like a big family … Definitely the best part is the people I’ve met. 

Though she has another year left to go, DeRossi-Goldberg’s feelings were similar.

“It’s indescribable, the feeling of this place,” she said. “This has brought me a whole new horizon.”

When parents and community members come to the show, Bernardo hopes those feelings will be on display. 

“[I hope] that they see middle school students enjoying themselves and sharing their love of theater with the audience,” he said. 

Performances of “Cinderella” will be held on Friday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Dartmouth Middle School Auditorium, 366 Slocum Road. Tickets are $10 at the door.