African-American Shakespeare Company Presents CINDERELLA 12/10-27

December 27
1:30 AM 2009

San Francisco's African-American Shakespeare Company opens its 15th season with an enchanting new production of CINDERELLA. This timeless tale is brought to whimsical, magical life just in time to celebrate the holiday season. Re-set on the bayous of Louisiana, this uplifting re-telling of the classic fairytale, directed by African-American Shakespeare Company Executive Director Sherri Young, features all of the pageantry, hilarity, and charm of the original, but with a soulful twist. CINDERELLA plays December 10 through 27 (press opening: December 11) at the African American Art & Culture Complex in San Francisco. For tickets ($20-30) and more information, the public may call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.African-AmericanShakes.org.

This heartwarming story finds Cinderella, a young, beautiful dreamer, toiling away as a lowly scullery maid for her evil stepmother and (oddly masculine) stepsisters. With the help of a fabulous Fairy Godmother who makes the magic happen, Cinderella finds her Prince Charming and learns that anything is possible, even miracles. Featuring music, songs, and a dazzling masquerade ball choreographed by Patrik Gallineaux from Cheryl Burke Dance studio, this new edition of CINDERELLA is the perfect holiday treat for the entire family.

The rags-to-riches story we know today as "Cinderella" can be traced to many stories and legends dating back to ancient China; today, some 1,500 variations of the story exist. The themes from the story appear in the folklore of many cultures, but the tale always centers around a kind but persecuted heroine who suffers at the hands of her stepfamily. In the 9th-century folk story Yeh-Shen, a stepmother and two stepsisters humiliate a hard-working girl, but when a 10-foot fish gives her food, a beautiful dress, and tiny slippers, she gains confidence. Charles Perrault's French version of the tale, which was written to entertain the 17th-century court of Louis XIV, is the basis for the Western versions of the Cinderella tale, and is the most popular version of the story. Germany's Brothers Grimm published their version, Aschenputtel, in 1812, but took a decidedly more gruesome take on the tale. Disney's 1950 classic animated film gave Perrault's tale new life, adding a supporting cast of animals and a score of catchy songs.

African-American Shakespeare Company has assembled a gifted ensemble for CINDERELLA. Featured in the production are: DelIna Brooks (Cinderella); Shatese Stewart (Fairy Godmother); Melvina Hayes (Evil Stepmother); Detroit Dunwood (Prince Charming); Martin Grizzell (Evil Stepsister); Abbie Rhone (Evil Stepsister); Frank Sparks (Father); Belinda Sullivan (Grandmother); and Jazara Metcalf (Young Cinderella).

African-American Shakespeare Company Executive Director Sherri Young helms this production of CINDERELLA. An M.F.A. graduate from the American Conservatory Theater, Young founded the African-American Shakespeare Company and has been its Executive Director since. She has directed 14 productions, produced and executed four programs for the organization, and speaks at various colleges, universities, and conferences across the nation; she hires and manages the 60 company members that perform productions throughout the Bay Area. In addition to her duties at African-American Shakespeare Company, Young is a commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco's Art Commission agency.

Choreographer Patrik Gallineaux is a New York native who marked his first stage performance exactly 30 years ago. He began his training at his family's dance studio, Dance Arts, and has performed in shows on cruise ships and theme parks, regional musical Theater Productions and tours; he has taught ballroom, latin, jazz, and tap across the country. As a producer and director, he most recently co-presented the world's first spin-off of the hit ABC series Dancing with the Stars, called "Dancing with the Drag Stars," at Cheryl Burke Dance SF. He was most recently seen on stage in Ray of Light Theatre's production of Seussical, The Musical and can be seen in the nationwide release of the feature film 24 Hours on Craigslist.

African-American Shakespeare Company continues its 15th anniversary season in March with a powerful modern-day interpretation of Shakespeare's OTHELLO (March 12-28). For more information about African-American Shakespeare Company, or for tickets to upcoming productions, the public can call
1-800-838-3006 or visit www.African-AmericanShakes.org.

African-American Shakespeare Company was introduced in 1994 to create an opportunity and a venue for actors of color to hone their skills and talent in mastering some of the world's greatest classical roles. Additionally, the company seeks to unlock the realm of classic theatre and these time-favored works to a diverse audience in a style that reaches out to, speaks to, and embraces their cultural aesthetic and identity. African-American Shakespeare has produced over 30 productions, toured to 97 schools, and reached over 105,000 patrons through its mainstage productions and arts education program.

 

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