Kids act in Manhattan Arts Center’s ‘Cinderella’

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The Missoula Children’s Theatre, in connection with the Manhattan Arts Center, put on an alternate version of the classic fairy tale “Cinderella” on Saturday at the MAC.

Prior to the start of the show, children were busy cheering and chattering. Parents and families of the performers and other supporters of the Manhattan Arts Center were filling in as ushers were helping to seat anyone in need. The lights dimmed, a hush fell over the audience and the performance began.

“[The show] has a few twists and some new characters,” said Amanda Hedrick, Manhattan Arts Center Marketing and Education director, comparing this production to the classic fairy tale.

The play included the classic Cinderella characters — the stepmother, the stepsisters and the prince — but also less traditional characters, including The Beggars, Raggedy Annie, some dancing mice and pumpkins, and Patches, who was played by Jordan Williams, a tour actor and one of the directors of the show.

“Cinderella” is only one of about five performances put on at the Manhattan Arts Center, Hedrick explained, and the MACademy Committee selected what performances were to be held.

After the show ended and after a special thanks from the directors, the cast posed for pictures while parents and families waited to take their kids home.

Darci Hildebrand, Manhattan resident, said she was impressed at the quality of the show, especially considering the amount of time that directors and actors have to learn lines and rehearse the play.

“The show was fantastic,” Hildbrand said. “The directors do a great job at putting a show together in just one week.”

Although the learning curve for the directors, cast, and stage and crew is steep, the team was able to deliver two sold-out performances to the Manhattan community.

The children in the audience also seemed to have a good time.

“It was funny,” said Andrew Hildebrand, Darci’s son.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre helps develop life skills in more than a million kids across the country, as described in the program. The community response for the Manhattan Arts Center and the Missoula Children’s Theatre has been high. Many families, like Manhattan resident Sylvia Rickert’s, were there to support their children.

Rickert explained that her family has only been in Manhattan for about two years now and her daughter, Mekaila, become involved with the Manhattan Arts Center after they drove by and saw a sign for auditions for the holiday performance of a “Christmas Carol.”

“[Mekaila] really enjoys it,” Rickert said. “The people here are great and it’s a good environment. “It’s a lot of fun and gives us something to do on the weekends and it keeps us out of trouble.”

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