The Talent Machine Company presents two musicals during the summer, one featuring a teen cast and another with a younger cast. The current show features cast members 14 and younger in the fairytale musical favorite " Cinderella," which continues at St. John's College's Key Auditorium through Sunday, July 18.
Still purring along in its 23rd season and nearly 10 years after the death of founder Bobbi Smith, the Talent Machine continues to reflect her vision of creating an environment in which young people can study theater and perform for the community.
Magic in abundance is found in the young cast members' high energy, bright smiles and strong ensemble work under the direction of Smith's daughter, Lea Capps. Smith's sister, Vicki Smith, brings her strong choreographic skills to the production.
Sean Lane debuts as musical director, and the cast is costumed like stars through the efforts of 10 dedicated parent volunteers. Lighting designer Garrett Hyde continues to lend his lighting expertise to every TMC production.
All the TMC hallmarks are in evidence from "Cinderella's" start, the stage brimming with talent after the young actors arrive from all directions to assume their places. The cast brings its electric energy and precise, professional timing from the beginning.
Most essential is the fine choice of music, which includes many Broadway favorites, such as "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses," as well as snatches of Tchaikovsky's familiar ballet music.
Talent is everywhere, including in the dozen adorable mice who inhabit Cinderella's kitchen. Jasper the cat is played to perfection by TMC veteran and ninth-grader Alli Musser, who sings and dances with feline grace.
Adding comic skills and their own peculiar grace are wicked stepsisters Bella (eighth-grader Paige Sachwitz) and Etta (seventh-grader Carly Hirsh). Mount de Sales Academy freshman Gillian Smith plays their mother (and Cinderella's stepmother).
Expert dancing by an ensemble of elegantly costumed lords and ladies brighten the palace ball scene.
Chorister and harpist Evan Bradley-Lewis makes a strong TMC debut in the role of the King, and 14-year-old TMC veteran Boo Devanny skillfully plays the Queen. TMC veteran Sarah Sinnott, 14, brings her own sweet magic to the Fairy Godmother role.
Seeming well beyond his 14 years is Jack McMullen, who brings an easy charm and fine baritone to his portrayal of Prince Charming, while managing to project a royal elegance in his ballroom dancing.
As Cinderella, 14-year-old Cassidy Hamilton displays a fine singing voice, dancing skills and impressive acting to create her own magic.
If you go
"Cinderella" will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 18. Tickets are $10, $8 for children 7 and younger, and can be ordered online at talentmachne.com, by calling 410-956-0512 or purchased at Key Auditorium at St. John's College in Annapolis.
"Crazy For You," Talent Machine Company's production for the older cast, starts Aug. 6. The show debuted on Broadway in 1992, calling itself "a new Gershwin musical comedy." It was an instant hit, featuring a timeless George and Ira Gershwin score largely resurrected from their 1930 hit "Girl Crazy." The simple plot told of wealthy New York stage-struck playboy Bobby Child, who is sent to a Nevada mining town where he rescues a bankrupt theater.
TMC's production will be directed by Lea Capps and Bobby Smith. Cyndi Wallman will serve as music director, and choreography will be by Vicki Smith and Kelsea Edgerly, who will restage the original Broadway choreography.
TMC's cast of 23 will be headed by 16-year-old Caleb Williams as Bobby Child. Playing Polly Baker will be 18-year-old Sarah Johansen. Also in the cast will be Sammi Blonder, Sam Curbelo and Tabi Thornhill.
Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Aug. 6, 7 12, 13 and 14; 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8; and 2 p.m. Aug. 15. Tickets are $12, and $10 for children 7 and younger. Information and tickets: talentmachine.com or 410-956-0512.