CPAC Presents The Grinch
It seems as though the spirit of Christmas creeps earlier into our minds and shopping buggies every year.
For most it is a dizzying array of orange and black Halloween decor on one side of the aisle juxtaposed with green and red Christmas jingles on the other.
However, dance students at the Carolina Performing Arts Center have had “Christmas on the brain” since August auditions, and now their hard work is coming to fruition with the upcoming production of “The Grinch.”
Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale comes to life on stage through dance, featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas.”
The Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos, an endlessly cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit. He discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heartwarming holiday classic.
With a cast of 60 students ages 3 to 17, this show represents the broad range of diversity at CPAC.
The Grinch, played by Michaela Wilkinson, dances several solos and seamlessly transfers styles from contemporary jazz to classical pointe work.
“It has been a challenge to learn the different teachers’ styles in such a short amount of time. That … and I’m not used to being so furry,” Wilkinson says as she changes shoes — again — during her regular six-hour Saturday rehearsal.
Most of the costumes are hand-made and include many whimsical Seuss-like touches. All of the Whos have yarn wigs made by students in the production, who attend the Sandhills Theatre Arts Renaissance School. Dance students worked during their recesses to hand-tie and glue every yarn fiber of the Grinch’s costume. Then they brushed it out to look like fur.
Parents were a huge part of the costume-making process, creating the entire cast of Whoville characters.
The set even reflects Dr. Seuss’ original perspective.
“It is entirely black and white as if cut directly from the storybook,” says Doug Fry, who is the set and lighting designer.
The show is a collaborative effort of many local talents, directed by Carmen Jones, with choreography by Cyndy Clendenin, Kia Korsanskaya and Tessa Sevdy.
The team decided to double-cast the roles of “Cindy Lou” and “Max” because there was so much talent at the audition.
Brooke Beckworth and Augusta Smith share the role of Cindy Lou, the littlest Who, who contemplates the true meaning of Christmas in her solo, “Where Are You Christmas?”
Max the dog is played by Ally Pelton and Marina Bullock. They use both their acting and acrobatic skills in playing the Grinch’s begrudging sidekick.
Andrielle Finch and Eliza Nooe are the elegant “Lead Snowflakes” en pointe in the opening number introducing the snowy scenery. Jentry Womack and Connor Cheeks will highlight their vocal talents singing encore solos from the show’s main theme songs.
“The Grinch” will be performed by the Carolina Performing Arts Center at The O’Neal School Hannah Theater on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children under 6. Tickets may be purchased at CPAC or the Arts Council of Moore County and will also be available at the door.
For more information, call CPAC office at (910) 695-7898.
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