Theatricks to close out Crocker's career with Cinderella in July

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Theatricks cast for Cinderella practice dancing
The case of Theatricks Cinderella practice signing

Mischievous children and fun loving parents alike are in store for a treat as Theatricks brings Disney's most famous princess to life on stage in July.

The production will be the Theatricks swan song for long-time director Webster Crocker. He has spent three decades helming shows with local theater groups. The live shows will take place starting July 9 and run through 18th with eight performances including a Saturday matinee.

This will be the third time that Crocker has staged Cinderella for the local theater. It was produced in 1993, 2001 and now in 2021. 

"As adapted for the stage, with great warmth and more than a touch of hilarity, this romantic tale still warms the hearts of children and adults alike. This Enchanted Edition is based on the 1997 teleplay," Crocker said in an email.

Theatricks cast for Cinderella practice dancing

In this version, he said, the Fairy Godmother, a dove, and a tree represent Cinderella's departed mother which gives the production more of a family connection and a guidance as Cinderella finds that her dreams do come true.

Webster and Nikki Crocker posing inside the Cinderella Carriage at Sherman's 2020 Snowflake Festival to help advertise Webster's final production of CINDERELLA as SCP's Theatricks Director after 32 years.

In a phone call, he said, this version is more like the 1957 televised version with Julie Andrews or the 1997 televised version with Brandi than the animated Disney classic. 

There will be times, he said, when up to 40 cast members will be on stage at one time  singing and dancing. 

Webster Crocker will retire from Theatricks with the July production of Cinderella. (Photo: Herald Democrat)

The show was originally set to open season when COVID-19 shut down live theater all across the world. The pandemic caused Theatricks to push the production to the last of the season. He said it is kind of fitting since when he first staged the production, his daughter was just one and the costumer made her a Cinderella dress. That child is now grown and teaching other children so the show feels like a full circle of sorts to him.

In addition to the cast of 40, there are dozens of people working behind the scenes to make the magic of this show come to life. Each character has multiple costume changes and of course, there is Cinderella's ball gown to be produced.

The cast will be accompanied by a ten-piece orchestra under the direction of Tom Bryson who Crocker said actually played the prince in his first production of the show. 

Crocker said the hardest part about putting on the show in just four weeks was casting because everyone wants to be Cinderella. 

"So there's bound to be some disappointment," he said. but he added that they have tried to make the ensemble pieces so lively and entertaining that those who were cast in the main parts get their opportunity to really entertain the crowd. Erica Romm has been cast as Cinderella and Heidi Schebmeir as the Godmother. Crocker said casting Cinderella was hard because she has to be a sharp contrast to her step sisters and she has to exude a kindness toward others. In addition to that, the actor has to be able to sing and dance. 

Finding time to teach all of those actors lines and songs and dances has been a challenge in the four weeks that they will have to get the show together especially since it is summer which means many people have other obligations. He said they were fortunate that many of the 40 people cast for the show have previous stage experience. And this time, he said there won't be any masks being worn due to COVID-19 so they hope it will feel like a real return to the way theater was before the pandemic.