Multigenerational Tale Told in a Fashionably Modern Way

Actors rehearsing choreography (L to R – Alexis Poole, Christina Yasi, Krissy Tucker, Morgan Goldsberry, and Choreographer Grayson Anthony)

There’s something magical on its way to Greenville’s West End. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s
Cinderella is the second production of the 2022-23 season at South Carolina Children’s Theatre
(SCCT) and opens Friday, November 18th on the Bell MainStage. This Broadway adaptation of
the classic musical features new characters, a hilarious libretto, surprising twists, and an
unforgettable score.

SCCT’s Artistic Director, Matt Giles (also the director of this production), wasn’t always a fan of
the classic musical. He and his brother grew up watching it on television.“The story of Cinderella
is ingrained in us all – it’s ancient and timeless. I wasn’t always a massive fan of this musical as
a kid. Every year I watched the televised version with Lesley Ann Warren – and I fell asleep. But,
after reading the updated Broadway script from 2013, I felt like the revisions gave the story new
life to speak to audiences of a newer generation. There’s still plenty of magic, but there’s also a
great sense of self-determination or magic of your own making. With the same beautiful music
and a few fun twists from our excellent design team, I’m confident this production will charm
audiences of all ages. I always love finding pieces that grandchildren will enjoy as much as
grandparents,” says Giles.

There are several versions of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, all of which were made for
TV: one in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, and another in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren (the
version Giles grew up watching), and the 1997 version starring Brandy and Whitney Houston.
This updated book by Douglas Carter Greene, gives Cinderella more agency and provides a
strong example of female friendship.

Costume Designer, Sarah Greene

Giles is also working with his production team to put a fashionably fun and modern stamp on the
design of the show. Costume Designer, Sarah Greene is busy at work upcycling and sewing
from scratch to create a unique take on 1700’s Rococo fashion that incorporates exciting colors
and textures from the 1980’s. “We are excited to reimagine Cinderella in this unique artistic
style. So while there will still be the frills and ruffles that everyone loves, the show will have a
new feel and flair that we know will delight our audiences,” says Giles.

Actors and Mother/Daughter – Krissy Tucker and Alexis Poole

Cast member, Krissy Tucker, plays Madame (the evil stepmother) in this production.
Commenting on how the updated version of the story, Tucker says, “This version has more
depth, humor, and a bit more sarcasm than the original. It doesn’t give way to the notion from
the original that one person has to be saved from their situation by any one person. Or that your
social status determines your value or worth.”

Tucker is also looking forward to playing Madame alongside her own daughter Alexis Poole,
making this a family affair. “This is our first time acting together onstage and playing mother and
daughter actually makes it a lot easier, says Tucker.“It allows me to pull from a real place and
hopefully will help bring an authenticity that is tangible to the audience. And most importantly it’s
so much fun. This experience is taking our relationship to a whole new level!”

In planning the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in SCCT’s coveted winter slot, the creative
team is excited to produce a show that will appeal to multiple generations. “The play still has the
sweetness and kindness qualities as seen in other versions that are geared mainly for children
but simultaneously includes humor and themes that adults will appreciate as well,” says Tucker.
“The show also teaches you that someone else does not determine your destiny but that you
possess that power within yourself. I also appreciate being a part of a production that is
inclusive of all races and is not bound by how roles were casted in the past. These are just a
couple of things that will resonate and feel relatable to all generations.”

Throughout the run of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, SCCT is also taking the opportunity
to give back during the holiday season. When attending shows, audience members can donate
gently worn pairs of shoes which will benefit Funds2Orgs, an organization that helps
communities in developing nations build small businesses. The theatre hopes to help facilitate
economic stability for these families abroad and promote a sense of gratitude and generosity in
its youngest patrons.

SCCT to present ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ was published in The Greenville Journal on November 9th, 2022.

Katie O’Kelly Hired as New Managing Director of South Carolina Children’s Theatre; Eager To Build Upon SCCT’s Legacy

South Carolina Children’s Theatre (SCCT) is pleased to announce the hiring of Katie O’Kelly as the organization’s new Managing Director. Ms. O’Kelly will co-lead the organization with SCCT’s Artistic Director, Matt Giles, and will begin work at the theatre this September.

“The Board of Directors is delighted to welcome Katie O’Kelly to South Carolina Children’s Theatre,” says SCCT Board Chair Kathryn Freedman. “In her new role as Managing Director, Katie and Artistic Director Matt Giles will maintain the purpose, quality, and vision our patrons expect while adding their own energy and flair. The Board is confident that together they will build on the creative and transformative foundation established by Debbie Bell.”

Ms. O’Kelly hails from Florence, South Carolina and received her B.A. from Wofford College and her Master of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts. She has worked nationally and internationally as a Production Manager, Producer, and Stage Manager for companies like Seattle Repertory Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, CalArts Center for New Performance, REDCAT, Triad Stage, Charleston Stage Company, and Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China. She worked as Producing Associate for the 8-time Tony Award winning Best Musical Hadestown through its pre-Broadway runs in Canada and London, and in its current run on Broadway. Most recently, Ms. O’Kelly was the Director of Operations and Production at Triad Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she managed the business side of the organization and its $2.2M operating budget. Ms. O’Kelly has also served as an Adjunct Professor at University of North Carolina Greensboro teaching Stage Management, an Adjunct Professor of Theatre at Greensboro College teaching courses in Stage Management and Production Management, and the Producing Associate for the Tony Award winning Producer, Dale Franzen.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the team at SCCT as its new Managing Director,” says Ms. O’Kelly. “I am passionate about the mission of the theatre and look forward to building upon SCCT’s 35-year legacy and creating more opportunities for young people and their families to engage with the theatre.”

SCCT’s Board of Directors led an exhaustive nationwide search for the role. “The search committee interviewed candidates from across the country, and we were very pleased to find a South Carolina voice to continue leading the theatre,” says Derek Lewis, SCCT board member and leader of the Managing Director search committee.

This September will start a year-long celebration of SCCT’s 35-year anniversary, and with a brand-new theatre facility in the West End, and Ms. O’Kelly now in place to co-lead the organization, the theatre is poised for its next stage of growth. “I am thrilled to welcome Katie to SCCT and to partner with her in leading the theatre,” says Artistic Director, Matt Giles. “She will be a phenomenal addition and her wide array of experience will be a tremendous asset during this period of exciting growth and change at South Carolina Children’s Theatre.”

Looking back on SCCT’s first 35 years, there is much to celebrate, especially for Debbie Bell who has been with the theatre for 34 years, with 23 of those years as Executive Director. Ms. Bell leaves behind an extraordinary legacy for SCCT and the City of Greenville, and says the future is bright for the organization. “Katie O’Kelly is a rising star in the theatrical field,” says Ms. Bell. “She and Matt will make a stellar team. I look forward to seeing how they will work with the Board and the Staff to grow the theatre to new heights. SCCT is in great hands and I personally can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Photo credit: Kris Decker/Firewater Photography

Founded in 1987 by Ric Standridge, South Carolina Children’s Theatre has impacted the lives of children and families in the Upstate community through theatre, educational classes and workshops, and accessible outreach initiatives. Each year, South Carolina Children’s Theatre produces and performs five high quality, live theatre performances featuring children and adults on its Bell MainStage. The theatre also produces three-four additional shows and other special events on its more intimate Younts 2nd Stage. Throughout the year, SCCT offers professional year-round education in the dramatic arts for children ages 3 to 18, as well as educational outreach to low-income and special needs children. For more information about South Carolina Children’s Theatre, please visit: www.scchildrenstheatre.org.

 

Contact info:

Kate Fowler
Director of Development & Marketing
South Carolina Children’s Theatre
[email protected]
Address: 153 Augusta Street, Greenville, SC 29601
Office Phone: (864) 203-1164