Charming. Prince Charming. Hagerstown Goes to the Ball with Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

by Nathan Oravec

Sunday, your prince will come.

Along for the ride in a fantasy carriage Hagerstown-bound are a fairy godmother, two evil stepsisters, four magical mice, and countless other fairy-tale folk. On Sunday, March 2, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the fourth show in the Broadway at the Maryland Series, will grace the Maryland Theatre stage for two performances, at 4 and 8 p.m., in an all-new adaptation of a perennial classic with magic and dreams come true.

Recently, The Picket News spoke to actor Adam Jacobs about his glass slipper-fitting turn as Prince Charming in this new spin on an old tale.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Before acting, I was really into the piano and sports. It wasn’t until High School that I became involved in theater. [I was cast] as Ché in Evita and as Billy Bigelow in Carousel. It was then that I decided this is what I want to do. So, after High School, I went to New York University, because that’s where you have to go. I also saw Yul Brynner when I was five years old, which I think may have influenced me subconsciously in some way.

Tell us a little about the show.

It’s the basic story of Cinderella, [which originated] thousands of years ago in China. It really hasn’t changed over time. I guess the 1997 film with Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg would be the best example. Our version is more modernized. Tom Briggs and Andrew Lippa have really put a wonderful adaptation together. The music has more of a beat, so you can really move to it. And, as far as dialogue goes, it’s more contemporary, so younger audiences can relate to it. Also, one major difference, is that in our version, Cinderella has to realize that she must take responsibility for her own destiny before she can be helped by any magic, which is a really good message in itself. We also have a multiethnic cast. There are twenty-three of us, including an African American Queen and Fairy Godmother. I’m half Asian, myself. And we have a brunette Cinderella.

What can you tell us about your role as Prince Christopher - Prince Charming?

I play the Prince who is part of a royal family, but the interesting thing is - although it’s royalty - it’s really just a typical American family, which everyone can relate to. The King and the Queen are my parents, and I call them Mom and Dad.

What attracted you to the role?

I needed work first of all. {laughter} I had actually seen the show before, and I remember thinking, “I could do that. I could be the Prince.” So when I heard of the auditions, I couldn’t pass it up. I auditioned with about 400 other guys, and was fortunate enough to get the part, and the more I worked on it, the more I knew that I could do it.

How has the tour gone so far?

We started September 10, and it’s scheduled to end late April. We had a five-week break in December where we were able to spend time with family. We’ve had a lot of one nighters and split weeks, which are nice. A lot of times, we’ve been in different towns for a week at a time, and we pretty much live there. We’re in Columbus, Georgia now. We just left Macon. The actors never travel after a show at night, but the crew will travel through and set up before we arrive. It takes eight hours for them to set up, so we really have a lot of respect for those guys. We just got finished doing seven shows in four days, and we’re all starting to feel it. It certainly takes its toll and can be grueling. But you really learn to take advantage of your alone time - and to rest efficiently.

What can you tell us about the differences between playing small towns and big cities?

With a big audience, it’s almost like you’re playing into this abyss. I really like small venues, because you can feel the audience right there and you can feed off of their energy.

Cinderella is a magical tale. What can you tell us about portraying that magic on-stage?

We had to sign magic waivers. I’m not kidding. Because people are always asking, “How did that pumpkin turn into a carriage?” or “How did that guy transform so fast?” And we always just say, “It’s magic.” The costumes and the sets are beautiful - Broadway quality. If you’d come just to see that - it would be worth it.

So, Prince Charming, what do you think about your Princess - Cinderella?

The actress’ name is Kirsten Rossi. She and I are friends off-stage, and we’re constantly working on our relationship on stage to keep it fresh and new. We have to fall in love every single night out there. We’re both very respectful of each other. Being generous actors is essential. She really embodies the role, I think. Which is great, because it’s really easy to play off of her. She’s a real sweetheart.

Anything else you would like audiences to know about Cinderella?

It’s great for families and anyone who [loves the story.] It’s funnier than you might think. So come out and support the arts in your community. It’s going to be a great show.

Tickets are available at the Maryland Theatre Box Office, 21-27 South Potomac Street in Hagerstown. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone at 301-790-2000. Prices range from $40-$50 plus service charges.