Doug King, who is guest-directing the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre's production of “Cinderella,” wasn't keen on changing much of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.
However, although the music is “memorable and delightful,” he says, it isn't “one of their strongest scripts.”
His dilemma was how to change up the classic fairy tale without compromising the integrity of the show, which opens Friday night at the Arts United Center. If the audience was comprised of all little girls, he wouldn't have a problem.
“Of course, all the little girls are always in awe,” he said.
But he wanted to add something to make it more palatable for all the brothers and dads who attend the show with the little girls.
“One big thing I did was take a little liberty with the cast,” he said. The Stepmother is played by a man, Reuben Albaugh.
“Without changing anything (else) it becomes comical,” he said. “I want you to know that it is a man.”
Albaugh will be decked out in “heels, full makeup, everything,” King said.
But the humor isn't just contained to the stepmother-in-drag. King will rely on other gags as well, such as pairing the very tall stepsister Portia, played by Stephanie Longbrake, with the shortest male in the cast for a dance scene at the ball.
While the play follows closely to the previous “Cinderella” movies and even the animated Disney version, some events are difficult to perform in live theater, such as transforming a pumpkin into a carriage.
King, who is from Fort Wayne but now lives in Indianapolis, said “we do our best” to create theatrical magic. But aside from admitting they will use pyrotechnics to help with some of the “magic,” King wouldn't reveal any more secrets, saying, “you'll have to come and see.”