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Ellwood Shines as Cinderella


Ellwood Shines as Cinderella

Olivia DeCrane

Harrison’s spring musical, Cinderella, premiered March 3 and 4, but it is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

The musical is popular with the audience and is always fun to attend, but it means much more for the people who put it together.

The cast and crew worked on preparing Cinderella for about two months, and for the week before its premiere they would stay after school until nine, sometimes 10 p.m.

Mariah Ellwood, who played Cinderella, may have been a bit unfamiliar to audiences, as she was a chorus member her sophomore and junior year.

Aaron Walker (the prince), Omar Almakki (the king), and Lilly VanFossen (the queen) were more familiar as they have had major roles in past performances.

When Ellwood realized she was going to be Cinderella, she was really scared and excited.

“I remember when I was told I got the part,” said Ellwood. “I was driving my friend home from school and she asked, ‘Do you think you’re going to get it?’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t know if I’m going to get it,’ and she pulled up the cast list on her phone and said ‘Mariah, you’re Cinderella.’ I freaked out. I couldn’t believe it. I was ready to crash the car!”

“I regret not doing it my freshman year, I was scared to do it,” said Ellwood. “I had the idea that it was an acting only thing, but this [year] was really my first year acting. I just didn’t have the confidence to do it [before].”

Her move from a chorus member to the title role was certainly a leap.

As a chorus member, she was always in a group, but as Cinderella she would often be the target of the audience’s attention.

Ellwood has been taking voice lessons for as long as she can remember, but her primary experience is with jazz singing.

She is a member of the school’s jazz choir.

“I’ve sang in the musical before, but never on my own with solos and stuff. It was kind of like, let’s see how this goes, because I wasn’t really sure how it was going to be. But I got the part, so I knew that they had faith that I should do it, so I thought maybe I should too,” said Ellwood.

She notes while she could easily tell if her singing was good or not, it was harder to tell with acting. After all, she could hear herself, but not see herself.

She said that her confidence was lower with the acting aspect because she could not compare herself and truly know how she was doing.

Still, said Ellwood, there were numerous amazing moments from the musical and lots of memories she’ll remember forever.

“There are uncountable memories from musical,” says Ellwood. “Overall, my best memory was everyone being so accepting of me, since I was now put in the position to be a leader. Everyone kind of lifted me up there and accepted me for who I was. That was the best part, the social aspect of it.”

Ellwood will be attending Purdue in the fall, and while she is excited, she notes that Purdue does not have a lot of musical opportunities nor a music major.

“I’m definitely going to continue singing, but I just recently thought maybe I should continue acting, because I already miss it,” says Ellwood.

“Out of everything, my self-confidence just skyrocketed. It was a great way to end my senior year.”