Renton Christian School brings the magic on stage with ‘Cinderella’

Many eighth graders will have their final bow at Renton Christian School's spring musical "Cinderella."

It’s spring time, which means spring musical time, which means it’s bibbidi-bobbidi-boo time.

Renton Christian School’s (RCS) award-winning theater program is taking on “Cinderella” as their spring musical. The show, set to run May 12 -14 at Renton Civic Theater, is “fun” and “charming,” with lots of hilarious moments, according to director Laura McGinnis.

And while the show tells the timeless classic tale of the rags-to-riches princess (it’s the Roger and Hammerstein version, which means its a rags-to-riches princess with some personality), McGinnis is preparing to maybe shed a tear or two.

“It does have a sad ending since the eight graders are leaving,” she said. “It’s sort of their last song. It’s a big deal since they’re done with us. On the very last show…we have eighth graders come and take a final bow. And it makes me want to cry! You get really attached.”

Unlike other school theater programs, at RCS the program is an elective class for seventh and eighth graders. The cast of the fall musical “Mary Poppins” won multiple awards at the Musical Theater Competitions of America, a prestigious national theater competition.

But at its core, this program is the story about one teacher who refuses to let her students settle. McGinnis is tough on her students and doesn’t apologize to parents for “picking on” her students.

“She’s hard on us, but in all the right ways,” said Kayla Connell, who plays Cinderella. “She wants us to build on what we already have. She will pick on every single little thing. But she’ll also ask how we’re doing. You can tell that she truly cares about us and that she wants us to do our best.”

Connell, 14, said she was surprised when she was offered the lead role of the play, but that she’s excited for it.

“This Cinderella is different from the Disney Cinderella,” she said. “She has a personality but she’s overpowered by her stepmother. It’s a completely different character from who I am.”

For her, Cinderella’s character seems foreign because Cinderella “doesn’t stand up for herself,” something Connell can’t fully understand.

As an eighth-grader, it’s her final time on the RCS stage, but that reality hasn’t quite hit her yet. Currently, she’s more concerned about fully immersing into her character and enjoying being up on stage.

It’s chaotic on stage with the high-energy cast practicing their dance moves, chatting loudly or doing whatever it is middle school students do. But when the cast quiets down and begins to rehearse, the witty, bright and hilarious characters emerge and scene-by-scene, the talented cast knit together their comedic and heartfelt take on the timeless story.

The show is set to run at 7 p.m. on May 12-14 with an additional showing at 2 p.m. on May 14 at Renton Civic Theater, 507 S. Third St.