Theatre reinvents ‘Cinderella’ tale

KNOXVILLE, TN – Cindy & Ella, the Knoxville Theatre Club’s inaugural production, is based on the ancient folktale of Cinderella, but if you’re only familiar with the Disney cartoon, the plot of this dark comedy may be a bit surprising.​ ​

Stranded in the lifeless heart of Dust Bowl-era Oklahoma, and reeling from the traumatic death of her mother, young Cindy Wicket is left teetering on the brink of madness. When a handsome young man from Chicago arrives offering to buy the land, the stage is set for a final conflict over control of the homestead and the fate of all who live there. Photo: Knoxville Theatre Club.

When her scheming Aunt Eudora arrives claiming ownership of the home, a violent battle of wits and wills ensues.

Meanwhile, Eudora’s daughter Ella must wrestle with her own mounting desperation as she watches her hopes for the future vanish beneath dust, dead crops, and her mother’s all-consuming greed.

Co-author Sara Gaddis says about the production, “The Cinderella story is more than 3000 years old and there are versions of it in almost every culture, from Germany to Vietnam. We wanted to tell a story that was fun, exciting, and recognizable to everyone, but still left room to for us to explore the most enduring themes and relationships of those fairytales from a modern perspective, especially the messages the stories send to young women about their intimate and interpersonal struggles, the necessity and danger of hope, and the gifts or burdens our mothers leave us.”

Cindy & Ella stars Theatre Knoxville Downtown President Bonny Pendleton, Raine Palmer (The Office, Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Chad Wood (Two Gentlemen of Verona, Tennessee Medieval Faire, Hamlet) and Maria Kauffman (Pride and Prejudice, Sleeping Beauty, The Crucible.) The show’s co-creators Gaddis and JP Schuffman have been producing original work together in NYC, Nashville, and Knoxville since 2010. In 2017 they founded Knoxville Theatre Club, which has hosted workshops and local community events such as The Pop-Up Theatre Project, Drama & Drinks, The Crow Flies Scriptworks, and the Knoxville Theatre Slam.

Cindy & Ella runs September 22-23 & 29-30, 2017 at Modern Studio, 109 W Anderson Ave, in Knoxville. Ticket prices vary ($5 to $25) and are available for purchase online at the theatre website. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly recommended.

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