'Cinderella' casting complete

| Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

Cast and crew at Connellsville Area High School are preparing to cast a spell on audiences with their spring musical, "Cinderella Enchanted," by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein.

Musical director Henry Molinaro said, "We spent extra time casting. We had an extra callback. I feel very good about this cast. After the break, we'll go right into the rehearsals."

The show will feature about 90 students bringing the fairy tale to life.

Christa LoNigro, a senior from Connellsville, will play Cinderella. Like the princess, she has stepped into an unfamiliar role and is excited.

She has been in three musicals. "I don't dance, but I've been singing all my life. I'm learning to waltz."

LoNigro normally plays basketball during the winter, but a knee injury kept her sidelined. "I couldn't play basketball, and I tried out for the musical instead," she said. "It's going to be nice to do my first high school show with these people."

LoNigro described her character as "very mild and meek. She's not a typical princess. She's a servant until she meets her prince."

After graduation, she plans to attend college and study education.

Aaron Patton, a senior from Connellsville, plays Prince Christopher, the object of every girl in his kingdom's desire.

The prince is a young bachelor who believes in love at first sight. His parents host a ball and he hopes to meet his true love. He's looking for a real person, not someone shallow.

Patton has played in two musicals and is excited about playing the romantic lead. "I'm glad to be in this with my good friends," he said. "I've been in chorus since fifth grade. I plan on going into filming and directing. I'm happy that God has blessed me. A lot of good men tried out. I thank God for giving me the talent and thank my family for their support."

Melody Jones, a Connellsville senior, plays Cinderella's stepmother.

She performed in her first show at age 8 and has performed in about 10 since. "I'm excited to do the show with my best friends. We've been doing things together since elementary school," Jones said.

Her character is deeper than expected. "She's jealous of Cinderella and her beauty. She tries to shelter from the world so she has her alone," Jones said. "She's a widow, who has lost the love of her life."

After graduation, Jones wants "to open my own hair salon. I don't know where yet. Wherever the wind takes me."

Kait Nedrow, a Dunbar junior, plays Grace, Cinderella's stepsister.

"Grace is the awkward stepsister. She's very jealous of Cinderella. She wants to marry the prince. I've been dancing and singing my whole life. This is my eighth musical," she said.

"I'm really excited to have my first lead in a high school musical and work with these people," she said.

Kalie Williams, a Connellsville senior, plays Joy, the younger stepsister.

"This will be my fifth musical. I've been dancing since I was 5. I'm very excited this year. I'm very close with members of the cast. We've known each other a long time. It will be fun," she said.

"Joy is younger sister. She's very tall, like me, and very confident, but she's goofy and jealous of Cinderella," Williams said.

After graduation, Williams will attend the University of Pittsburgh and major in English.

Elle Eutsey, a Connellsville senior, plays the magical character who makes Cinderella's and Prince Christopher's dream come true and dashes the hopes of others.

"The Fairy Godmother is the fun, bubbly one. She helps Cinderella with the ball and with the prince. She makes Cinderella's life a little better. I think it's going to be fun," Eutsey said.

She has been in six musicals. "I started dancing at 2-and-a-half and singing at 10. After graduation I want to go to West Virginia University and study nursing to be a neonatal specialist."

"Cinderella" will be performed March 1, 2, 3 and 4. Ticket sales and show times will be announced.

After each performance, fans may have their pictures taken with Cinderella and her Prince Christopher.

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