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Lathrop staging free play tonight
Lathrop High students performing Cinderella across the World. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

Ever wonder what a Cinderella story would be like in Russia?
Ever pictured Cinderella as a young Native American girl?
Tonight a performance of “Cinderella across the World” by the Lathrop High School Theater Arts Department will give you the chance to see all of those spliced together with the traditional Disney approach to the timeless fairytale that shows that happy endings are a reality regardless of the cultural background.
The show, which takes place at the Lathrop High School Performing Arts Theater at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public.
“This represents months of work for these students have put in – both after school and on weekends,” Lathrop High Speech Arts teacher Hali Rosen said. “We knew that when we put this together that it was something that the elementary school kids were going to love.”
On Thursday morning the group performed its second iteration of a three-row run that culminates tonight – performing for students Banta and Lathrop Elementary Schools.
And the mixture of multi-cultural storytelling coupled with the costumes handmade by Banta teacher Teresa Lorentz – who was in attendance with her class – made it an entertaining and visually stunning performance that challenges the notion that a “Cinderella” story has to stick to its Disney roots.
It can also be funny.
Through a mixture of clever dialogue and improvisation, the play – which lasted just over an hour with a question-and-answer session at the end – was actually comical thanks to clever dialogue and witty performances by people like Michael Lopez, who plays the Russian witch Baba Yaga that was a departure from the original, and Sam Jex who played both a property man in the Chinese version Cinderella and the evil stepmother in the Russian version.
Molly Moakler was splendid as the classic Cinderella – weaving parts of the original story throughout the play and even performing the famous glass slipper scene at the conclusion of the show which drew sharp applause from the fourth-graders in attendance.
Her counterparts were equally impressive.
Eliana Montanio played Broken Wing – also known as “rough face” – in the Native American section while Samantha Sesante was sensational as Vasilisa, the Russian fairy tale that featured Jessica Jones as a doll that comes to life in order to help her perform her chores.
For the Asian version, GD Soriano played “Pear Blossom” – who was rudely referred to as “Pigling” by her evil stepsisters – who wowed us with her woeful tale that ended with her marrying the wealthy prince that her stepsister wanted to meet so badly and lived a life of happiness.
If you’re looking for a clever-spin on a tale that has clearly blossomed beyond cultures, this is definitely worth your time, and performing for an audience is the only payment that these students – some of them not even members of the performing arts classes – will get for their months of hard work and preparation.
And who doesn’t love a happy ending?