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Zach Theatre & Deaf Austin Theatre Announces Cast of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS: Motley Crew Media for ZACH Theatre

Nicole Shiro | [email protected] | (C) 512-740-6665

ZACH THEATRE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DEAF AUSTIN THEATRE ANNOUNCES THE CAST OF RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA

January 25 – March 5, 2023 | The Topfer at ZACH

(AUSTIN, TX) – ZACH Theatre in partnership with Deaf Austin Theatre (DAT) announces the cast of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella playing January 25 – March 5 at The Topfer at ZACH with a cast and crew of deaf and hearing actors. Co-Directed by Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Theatre Michael Baron and DAT Artistic Director, Dr. Brian Cheslik, The Tony®-nominated musical fairytale Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will come to life in The Topfer to start the New Year for 2023.

This fresh new musical and family favorite will be performed in both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English with supertitle artistically incorporated into the scenic design and fully inclusive experience from the time patrons arrive at the theatre. Broadway veteran SANDRA MAE FRANK (Deaf West’s Spring Awakening) will play the title role of Ella. Sandra recently was Co-Director (with Michael Baron) of the critically acclaimed production of The Music Man at Olney Theatre in Maryland and can currently be seen as Dr. Elizabeth Wilder on “New Amsterdam” on NBC.

“Since beginning pre-production work, I immediately found that we share theatrical mindset. It’s been an amazing collaborative and directing partnership that I hope leads to future endeavors between Deaf Austin Theatre and ZACH as well as Deaf Austin Theatre and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, which is where Michael is based as artistic director,” expressed director Dr. Brian Cheslik. “This production is so important because it provides a space for deaf performers who have long been ignored in this industry. It will help people to realize that yes, deaf people can enjoy music and perform in musicals too. We can do anything hearing people can do…even here! We just do it a different way.”

“Collaborating with both deaf and hearing artists on musicals has been a rewarding and constantly creative process. Sandra Mae Frank and I recently co-directed a deaf/hearing production of The Music Man in Washington, DC.,” said director Michael Baron. The process of working on that show was revolutionary in that for the first time the deaf perspective was of equal or of greater importance to the interpretation of the material. Many of the deaf artists who worked on The Music Man are a part of this company of Cinderella – including my co-director, Sandra Mae Frank. She is returning to the stage in the lead role of Cinderella. Creating this production will be challenging, joyous, heartfelt, and full of discoveries – but one, I promise, you love and remember for years to come.”

The cast of deaf and hearing actors will also include TREY HARRINGTON as Topher; MEREDITH MCCALL as Madam; KENNY WILLIAMS as Sebastian; MERVIN PRIMEAUX-O’BRYANT as Marie/Fairy Godmother, KRISSY LEMON as Gabrielle; SARA BURKE as Charlotte; GREGOR LOPES as Jean-Michel; CHRISTOPHER TESTER as Lord Pinkleton; HEBA TOULAN as Ensemble; EMILY CATALFAMO as Ensemble/Ella Swing; LEE WALTER as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Marie, MARIEL ARDILA as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Ella; TAYLOR FLANAGAN as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Gabrielle; and JORDAN BARRON as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Jean-Michel.

Directed by MICHAEL BARON and DR. BRIAN CHESLIK. Additional production team includes ALLEN ROBERTSON as musical director, CASSIE ABATE as choreographer, MERVIN PRIMEAUX-O’BRYANT as assistant choreographer; STEPHANIE BUSING as scenic, properties and projections designer, CHRIS EVANS as assistant projections designer, JEFFREY MEEK as costume designer, SERRET JENSEN as hair and makeup designer, ANNIE WIEGAND as lighting designer, FABIAN GARCIA as assistant lighting designer, ANNA ALEX as sound designer, SHANNON RICHEY as stage manager, KAILYN AARON-LOZANO as Lead Director of ASL, and LAILA HANAUMI as Director of ASL.

On why bringing Cinderella to the stage was important, ZACH Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley said, “With over 50,000 deaf and hard of hearing residents in Austin, I want to make sure ZACH is serving the members of our community, especially the students at Texas School for the Deaf. It occurred to me that Rodgers + Hammerstein’s newer Broadway adaptation of Cinderella would be a good story because this version puts her in the driver’s seat of her life’s journey. Likewise, I want us to produce a work that puts our deaf director, choreographer, actors and production team in control. It has been a very exciting process so far, and I know the result will be a highly original interpretation of this classic tale that is joyous and moving in its inclusivity.”

Steakley continued, “Brian Cheslik is the leading deaf director in our state and he knows ZACH well as he has signed many of our performances over the years. It made sense to pair him with Michael Baron, who is at the forefront of productions which collaborate between ASL and English, having helmed several productions across the country as the hearing director. The creativity is sparking between these two great artists.”

Special Events in celebration of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella:

• Pride Night on Thursday, January 26, 2023
• Press and Champagne Opening Night – Saturday, January 28, 2023; Press may RSVP to [email protected]

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

When: January 25–March 5, 2023 Where: The Topfer at ZACH | 202 South Lamar | Austin, TX | 78704 Tickets: Start at $25 available at ZACH’s box office – 512-476-0541 x1, zachtheatre.org

Image Link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1U4arvvzpZsDhiChz6h_bON8ZuCA5PMw8

Summary: zachtheatre.org/cinderella

This enchanting Tony®-nominated musical fairytale will put a spell on audiences of all ages. In partnership with Deaf Austin Theatre and performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella showcases some of your favorite tunes including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this funny, modern adaptation from the delightful Broadway revival. Add a dash of romance, a splash of stage magic–and POOF!–you’re guaranteed to have a ball!

Age recommendation: Six and up

Run time: Approximately two hours with a 20-minute intermission.

PRESS: For press seats, interviews, and all other inquiries, please contact [email protected]

TICKETING AND MEMBERSHIPS:

Tickets are available online at zachtheatre.org, by phone at 512-476-0541 Tuesday through Friday, 12–5 p.m. Free, short term and convenient parking available at the front entrance. ZACH Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Student Rush Tickets are $17 one hour before show time (with valid ID). A limited amount of Pay–What–You–Will tickets are available the day of for Mainstage preview performances November 16–20
only. Groups of 8 or more may request reservations by calling 512-476-0594 x245 or by emailing
[email protected]
ZACH XP memberships are $39 per month and give access to all 2022-23 season Mainstage and Family series shows. ZACH XP Members get early-access to reserve seats. Visit zachtheatre.org/zachxp to learn more.

CAST
Sandra Mae Frank – Ella
Trey Harrington – Topher
Meredith McCall – Madame
Kenny Williams – Sebastian
Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant – Marie/Fairy Godmother
Krissy Lemon – Gabrielle
Sara Burke – Charlotte
Gregor Lopes – John-Michel
Christopher Tester – Lord Pinkleton
Heba Toulan – Ensemble
Emily Catalfamo – Ensemble/Ella Swing
Lee Walter – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Marie
Mariel Ardila – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Ella
Taylor Flanagan – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Gabrielle
Jordan Barron – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Jean-Michel

PRODUCTION TEAM
Michael Baron – Co-Director
Dr. Brian Cheslik – Co-Director
Allen Robertson – Musical Director
Cassie Abate – Choreographer
Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant – Assistant Choreographer
Stephanie Busing – Scenic, Properties & Projections Designer
Chris Evans – Projections Assistant
Jeffrey Meek – Costume Designer
Serret Jensen – Hair and Makeup Designer
Annie Wiegand – Lighting Designer
Fabian Garcia – Assistant Lighting Designer
Anna Alex – Sound Designer
Shannon Richey – Stage Manager
Danielle Grisko – Assistant Stage Manager
Casey Boriskie – Assistant Stage Manager
Kailyn Aaron-Lozano – Lead Director of ASL
Laila Hanaumi – Director of ASL
Shannon Ploeger – ASL Interpreter Coordinator

COVID PROTOCOLS AND HEALTH AND SAFETY:

Though masks are optional at ZACH Theatre at this time, wearing a high-quality mask (KF94, KN95, or better) is encouraged as it can provide individuals with additional protection.

The health and safety of our ZACH family has always been our first priority, and we will continue to monitor risk levels in Austin and update our policies in accordance with CDC and Austin Public Health guidelines.

Find a complete list of ZACH’s Health & Safety commitments, please visit zachtheatre.org/healthandsafety.

About ZACH Theatre

A non-profit organization, ZACH creates intimate theatre experiences that ignite the imagination, inspire the spirit, and engage the community. As Austin’s leading professional producing theatre, ZACH employs more than 300 actors, musicians, and designers annually to create its own diverse array of nationally recognized plays and musicals under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Managing Director Jamie Herlich Mclalwain. Each year, ZACH serves nearly 140,000 Central Texans – 57,000 of which are children and youth who participate in our education and outreach programs, as well as inspiring camps and classes. Founded in 1932, ZACH is the longest continuously running theatre company in the state of Texas, and one of the ten oldest in the country. Visit https://www.zachtheatre.org for more information.

ZACH Theatre’s 2022–23 Season is sponsored in part by Baylor Scott & White Health, Holiday Inn-Town Lake, Betty Nowlin, and Carolyn and Marc Seriff; and by grants from The Shubert Foundation, Junior League of Austin, The National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Cultural Arts Division of The City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Connect with ZACH: Facebook facebook.com/zachtheatre Twitter @ZACHtheatre twitter.com/zachtheatre Instagram instagram.com/zachtheatre
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