Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a magical and enchanting experience that truly draws the audience into the world of Cinderella and her story. This musical is currently onstage at Paper Mill Playhouse. This fairy tale retelling illustrates Cinderella’s strength and determination to teach people about kindness to all beings. Cinderella is a magical show that is perfect for the holiday season.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Christopher Sieber who plays Sebastian, the guardian of Prince Topher, in this production. He spoke with me about his character, why live theatre is important especially for children and he provided advice for those who are looking to peruse a career in the theatre.
Kelli Curtin: Could you tell me a little about the production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Paper Mill Playhouse?
Christopher Sieber: The show is magical. The wonderful thing about Paper Mill Playhouse is their ability to do a Broadway quality show. I love working here, and I am thrilled that I get to do this show before stepping into the role of Harry in the upcoming Broadway production of Company. The musical Cinderella is a reimagining of the classic fairy tale. In this production Cinderella is a more woke princess. She definitely does not need a prince. She is very strong and capable on her own. Lastly, the entire cast is extraordinary. It was such an easy rehearsal process and it is a joy to be part of the cast for this production.
Kelli: What can audiences expect when coming to Paper Mill Playhouse to see Cinderella?
Christopher: This is a show that is for everyone. It is a reimagined production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein show, and it is full of magic. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the score for the show in the 1950s. The music is beautiful and gorgeous. This show will sweep the audience into the fantasy world of Cinderella. It is our jobs as performers to take the audience into Cinderella’s world and for a little over two hours they can sit back, watch this magical production and forget the outside world for a bit.
Kelli: Could you please talk a little about your character, Sebastian? Especially for those who are unfamiliar with this character.
Christopher: Sebastian is the royal protector of Prince Topher; he became his guardian after his parents died. He has been running the country while Topher was away at school. This is such a fun part for me because I do not sing or dance or talk very much, I just react a lot.
Sebastian is kind of evil, which is right in my wheelhouse. I love playing evil characters. They are a lot of fun to play and I find the villains I have played to be juicy parts because I am not an evil person.
Kelli: What are you hoping audiences take away from this production of Cinderella?
Christopher: In our production Cinderella is her own person and it is her decision to marry the Prince. It shows how times have changed since this musical was first performed in the 1950s, and Cinderella in this production is a woke princess.
Most importantly I hope audiences enjoy the show. This production is so great and I hope it instills the audience with joy through its magic. This story has been around for ten centuries. And, there are so many different versions. For example, in one version she has a magic shoe, and in another version Cinderella’s mother passes away and she talks to Cinderella through a tree. This story has something that everyone can relate to, and I’m looking forward for audiences to see the magic of the story.
Kelli: Is there anything you are excited for people to see?
Christopher: Yes, the stage magic. Also, for people to sit and listen to the incredible score by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Kelli: You have played some wonderful characters during your successful career from Sir Galahad in Spamalot, Lord Farquaad in Shrek and most recently Trent in The Prom, just to name a few. What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in theatre?
Christopher: I have been asked this question before and first and foremost I would tell someone to please keep going even if you fail. As actors we cannot get better unless we fail sometimes. If you do not make a mistake you cannot learn and grow as an actor. Do not give up on your dream. This business is not easy and you are always looking for the next job. I always tell people to get 1% better each day because that is an achievable goal. Another thing I would like to tell people that I think is very important is to get off their phone and pay attention to the world around them. To be a successful actor you need to see the behavior of humans because that is how you learn how people react. Lastly, learn from the people you work with.
Kelli: Why, in your opinion, is live theatre important?
Christopher: As performers we are storytellers. For two and a half hours we have the opportunity to bring the audience into another world with us to laugh, cry and make them forget about the outside world. Theatre is not political, it is how we interpret it. Most importantly live theatre makes people think.
Kelli: Is there anything you would like to add?
Christopher: Come see Cinderella. Also, support live Arts. It makes children smarter, it teaches children more than subjects in school like math because it provokes the minds of children and requires them to evaluate what they are presented and to think for themselves. The Arts is such an important thing for children because it also teaches them empathy.
Christopher Sieber can be seen in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Paper Mill Playhouse. The show is on Paper Mill’s stage through December 29, 2019. For more information and tickets please visit their website at papermill.org or call the box office at (973)376-4343.
Photos courtesy of Paper Mill Playhouse
Kelli Curtin is founding editor and writer for Theatre Sensation. She has maintained a love of the performing arts since a very early age and she is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.