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Recasting Cinderella by Lizzie Free

Every time I start a new show, I frequently get very vivid anxiety dreams. I’d like to tell you all about the most recent one.

I arrived to rehearsal and changed into my dance clothes, as usual. As I sat down in the PAC to put on my character heels, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see Ms. Hanna staring at me, with a troubled expression. 

“Lizzie, I’m going to need you to follow me,” she said. I stood up and followed her into her office. She gestured towards a chair, and I sat down. “There’s no easy way for me to say this,” she sighed. “Your performance throughout the rehearsal process is not what I thought it would be. Frankly, it’s been terrible.” 

“I’ sorry. What can I do to fix it?” I said, shocked. 

“There’s nothing that can be done. Your effort has been admirable, but your talent is just not what I thought it was. The creative team has decided it would be best if you were to leave the show.”

“But...we’re so close to tech. I’m playing the lead; the show won’t work!” “We’ve found a replacement that we feel very good about. Probably one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. In My Own Little Corner brought me to tears.”

“Oh,” I took a deep breath. “If that’s your decision, I understand. I guess I’ll just leave, then.”

Before Ms. Hanna could say anything else, her phone buzzed. “Oh, good!” She said, reading the message. “If you’d like to meet your replacement before you leave, they’re running the waltz.” 

“Sure. I guess I’d like to know who’s taking over the role.” I followed Ms. Hanna back into the PAC.  When we entered, everyone was dancing the gavotte. The music began to crescendo for Cinderella’s entrance. Everyone turned towards the grand staircase. At the top of it, wearing a white ballgown and tiara, was my cat. 

“Lizzie, I believe you know Flitwick,” Ms. Hanna said with a proud smile. Flitwick gave me a smug look as he strutted towards the prince. Ari scooped him up and began to waltz with him. Flitwick’s narrowed green eyes never left mine. You look so stupid right now, he seemed to say. Remember that time you put a bonnet on me? It’s no fun to look stupid, is it? 

The music changed to Ten Minutes ago, and Ari sang his solo beautifully. When he finished, Flitwick stepped forward. He breathed in deeply and let out a loud yowl. I covered my ears. The sound was absolutely horrendous. But everyone was smiling and looking at him adoringly. I turned to see Ms. Hanna on the verge of tears. When Flitwick finally finished yowling, the entire cast and crew erupted into applause.  

I woke up in a cold sweat. I grabbed my phone and saw the email for the daily call. My breathing slowed down as I realized I was still in the show. So, whatever my devil of a cat may have told you, I will still be performing, and I will be just as good as he would be. If you come to the show, maybe I’ll even tell you about the part 2 of my dream a few nights later, when Ari was replaced by Winston, Naomi’s puppy. So come see Cinderella! It will be an amazing show that does not star my cat.  

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