Crowning achievement

Cinderella might have had a blast at the ball, as the classic fairy tale goes. But Molly Connor had a ball mostly as a tomboy as a youngster.

“Princesses weren’t really my thing early on,” said Connor, now 18. “But I understand that, for some little girls, princesses are everything.”

The issue crowns Connor’s conversations these days because the Columbus East High School senior finds herself in the royal role of the queen of the ball this weekend in the school’s production of “Cinderella.” She got a taste of the character’s impact when she and Prince Charming, played by her longtime friend Luke Major, recently visited Columbus Signature Academy, in character, before a group of kindergarteners.

“We received a far greater and better reaction than I ever could have imagined,” Connor said.

Youngsters were enthralled as the couple danced. The children later excitedly touched their costumes and asked about the story and the show that began as a 1957 CBS-TV production that drew a huge audience for its time.

Director and drama department head Janelle Runge said part of her motivation for wanting to do the musical is having a young niece “who is deep in the princess phase of her life … I wanted something that was fun, fantasy, very positive. The students have embraced it, reveled in it and we’ve had a great time preparing it.”

A ball, you might say.

East junior Major recalled watching the popular, animated Disney movie that captured his attention.

“There’s the idea of magic and the whole fantasy thing going on,” Major said.

His favorite segment of the whole production is when he and Cinderella waltz at the ball. The lovestruck-laden song, “Ten Minutes Ago,” a dreamy duet with Connor, stands as his favorite tune.

Sarah Harpring, playing Joy, one of the sad stepsisters, mentioned that rehearsals have been a blast and full of laughs as she has polished her part as one of the cruel-but-comic stepsisters.

“There is no room to not have fun,” Harpring said. “Our characters are absolutely bonkers.”

Besides they get to croon classic comedy such as that included in “Stepsisters’ Lament:”

She’s a frothy little bubble/With a flimsy kind of charm/And with very little trouble/I could break her little arm.

But, Harpring, known as nearly perennially upbeat, has had to learn to be an especially good actress by being sullen much of the time.

“That is so hard for me because I love to smile and make others smile,” she said. “I just have to keep in mind that by playing the role the way it was intended, I will hopefully harbor some big laughs.”

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What: Columbus East High School’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “Cinderella.”

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: East Clarence E. Robbins Auditorium, Marr Road and Indiana Avenue.

Tickets: $5, available at the door.

Information: 812-376-4396.