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Towngate Theatre Brings Reimagined Version of ‘Cinderella’ to Life

Emma Thompson and Grace Mull, from left, rehearse a scene from Towngate Theatre’s production of “Cinderella.” (Photo Provided)

WHEELING — Oglebay Institute continues its tradition of bringing beloved fairy tales to life with an imaginative production of “Cinderella”, which will be staged this weekend and next weekend, Jan. 28-30 and Feb. 4-5, at Towngate Theatre in Wheeling

Written by Lynn Stevens, this reimagined version of “Cinderella” brings a fresh approach to one of the world’s most famous fairytales, Oglebay Institute director of performing arts Tim Thompson said.

“From the Brothers Grimm edition in 1812 to Disney’s 1950 animated feature film to dozens of theatrical and film adaptations, ‘Cinderella’ has remained an audience favorite,” Thompson said. “Our production follows the tradition storyline but delves deeper into the lives and personalities of the characters than many of the pop-culture versions.”

Thompson noted that Towngate’s show does include all the favorite characters such as the good-natured Cinderella, the mean stepmother and the handsome prince, as well as tiaras, swords, magic spells and royal splendor to capture the attention of little ones, but it also introduces audiences to the back-stories of the characters and situations depicted in the play.

Thompson said the inclusion of the human side of the story engages children in a very special way. “We are staying true to the fairy tale but allowing the characters to be more real,” Thompson said. “In this version, Cinderella and the prince don’t belong together simply because of love at first sight. They fall in love because they get to know each other and have things in common.”

According to Thompson, Towngate Children’s Theater strives to entertain and bring families closer together through the arts.

“We provide imaginative theater experiences that can serve as springboards for discussions, even among the youngest members of the family,” he said.

The Towngate staff often chooses modern adaptations of classic fairy tales, Thompson said, because they instruct and enlighten.

“These simple stories told in innovative ways can teach valuable life lessons,” Thompson noted. “Everyone, including children, experience intrinsic benefits from live performance. Theater captivates and provides intellectual stimulation. It can teach you how to be a person. You get practice dealing with life situations that you might not have experienced yet.”

Towngate artistic director Dave Henderson directs the production. Cast members include Grace Mull, Kelsey Ohler, Lillian Gadd, Grace Thompson, Erin Bond, Noah Hilton, Alex Fabrizio, Wayne McCord, Lisa Haworth, Josie Figaretti, Lauren Brannan, Claire McFaddin and Emma Thompson.

“Cinderella” will be staged at 7 p.m. today, Jan. 28, and Feb. 4 and 3p.m. January 29, 30 and February 5. Children ages 13 and under will be admitted for a special admission price. Members of Oglebay Institute receive a discount.

Advanced reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the Stifel Fine Arts Center at 304-242-7700. For those buying seats at the door, Towngate’s box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at 304-233-4257.

Towngate’s 2021-22 Children’s Theater Season is sponsored by the Helen J. Prince Foundation.

Refreshments are available at Towngate Theatre and parking is curbside or in the nearby Center Wheeling parking garage.

Located at 2118 Market St., Wheeling, Towngate is easy to find and located just across the street from St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in the historic Centre Market district of Wheeling.

Visit Oglebay Institute on the web at www.oionline.com

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