Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It’s a red-letter performance

‘Cinderella’ to waltz into nexStage

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo Alyssa Corrao-Bal as Cinderella and Taylor Walton as the Prince dance a waltz in ‘Cinderella.’

There's a new theater group in the valley with old roots. In 1998, Nancy Harakay began a youth theater group called Children's After School Theater, more familiarly known as C.A.S.T. Last December after more than 30 years teaching mime and theater to children and adults, she called it a day.

"In December, she gave it all to me," said her musical director, Janis Walton, of Bellevue. "I decided to change the name to the Red Letter Cooperative Theatre."

The daughter of a documentary film producer, Walton has sung on stage and recorded music since she was 3.

Walton's first solo staged show will be one she and Harakay planned together—Rogers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." It will be presented Friday, April 4, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, April 5, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. Tickets are $8 each.

"It's the full-length version for all ages," Walton said. "The cast is a remarkable group of kids and they'll do a really great job. I'm excited for them."

The musical "Cinderella" was originally written for a live television musical broadcast in 1957, as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, who played the title role. It was subsequently adapted for the stage, and has been remade for television twice.

Nancy Harakay is returning to do the set and Walton brought in most of her family for various jobs, including stage manager, and for two of the roles.

The cast of 20 will include Alyssa Corrao-Bal as Cinderella, Taylor Walton as the Prince, Julia Dwyer and Shyla Jones as the stepsisters, Katie Walton as the stepmother, Walker Nosworthy as the King and Clara Rodriquez as the Queen.

Walton and her husband, the minister at the Community Baptist Church, moved to Bellevue with their five children four years ago from Riverside, Calif. There she ran the Inland Community Youth Theater. Besides taking over for Harakay, she is, she said, "the only thing going for youth theatre" in Hailey and Bellevue.

Walton has performed in shows for both Laughing Stock Theatre Company and St. Thomas Playhouse Theatre.

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