GRANT, Mich. — Live theater productions took a big hit over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many volunteer based organizations, like LionHeart Productions, their future was uncertain.
It was during those early days of the pandemic, organizers came together and made masks during the supply shortage and started raising money for the the Grant theater group.
More than two years later, local actors, costume designers, prop builders and audience members were back enjoying a live production of Cinderella.
It's a classic fairy tale that people young and old can relate to.
For the actors, the chance to be back on stage was an absolute thrill and the chance to make lasting connections.
"We make so many new friends and it's so awesome to just come into play and have so many people so welcoming to you and just so many different talents and putting those all together and performing it for an amazing audience is so much fun," said Avery Mills, who plays Cinderella.
The Grand Rapids native reflected on how great it is to work together and form characters and form their personality and character traits.
"It's really interesting to explore different emotions," Avery said.
Leslye Fries serves as the advertising and promotion chairperson for LionHeart Production and says this adaptation of the classic has some new elements.
"This is the this is the latest Broadway production of Cinderella 2012. So it has new characters, Jean-Micheal (played by Jarrod Howell) is one of them. And he's a rebel, he's gonna bring about change to the kingdom. One of our stepsisters is that traditional, snarky self centered, stepsister Charlotte. But then Gabrielle (played by Monica Schneider) is a little softer and gentler, and she is kind of the buffer between Cinderella and Charlotte."
The group agrees that live, local theater is a great and safe space for self expression, exploring new talents and working together as a team.
The theater group has two more live performances Saturday Nov. 12.
"We are truly bringing Broadway magic your way," Fries added.
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