Thrive’s ‘Cinderella’ opens in Chardon this weekend to sold-out crowds

See junior Connor Sutton & freshman Abigail Holmes, plus ‘Boro grads and residents, on SHS’ stage June 3 & 4


Polly Dierkens

Prince Alexander (Mason Boardwine) and Cinderella (Aliyah Wright) share a dance at the masquerade ball. Thrive’s original adaptation of the fairytale was written by SHS grad Brett Boardwine.

Junior Connor Sutton and freshman Abigail Holmes are featured in Thrive’s original adaptation of “Cinderella,” which opened to sold-out crowds this weekend in Chardon, continues May 20-22 there, before coming to the SHS auditorium June 3 and 4.

This adaptation of the beloved fairytale features original music and a script written by Streetsboro graduates, Brett and Desiree Boardwine, and Mara Labedz and Emma Rogowski.

The Boardwine siblings are directing the show, and their dad, teacher Jim Boardwine, runs sound and helped prepare the sets with his stage production class.

Performing in a scene on opening night of Thrive’s adaptation of “Cinderella are SHS graduate Nina Haugen, freshman Abigail Holmes and junior Connor Sutton. (Polly Dierkens)

“Cinderella” was originally set to premiere in 2020, but was canceled due to the pandemic. After two years, aspects of the show have been changed, revamped and revised. The show’s script and songs have since changed and the show features mostly new cast members and characters.

This is the first full theater show Thrive has put on since 2019, and is also their theater debut at the Chardon location. Up until now, they’ve staged musical and comedy acts there, as well as Sunday matinees.

The cast of “Cinderella” includes participants from previous Thrive shows and new performers who are students, Streetsboro graduates and people from different parts of Ohio.

SHS building sub Mason Boardwine (nephew of teacher Jim Boardwine and cousin to the show’s writers and directors) plays Prince Alexander.

Mason Boardwine described this adaptation of the fairytale as “the same show, but also could not be more different in a lot of ways.”

Junior Connor Sutton plays the prince’s French servant, Henri, and performs a solo song titled, “Come to the Ball.”

Sutton said his favorite scene is when he and other characters are trying to fit the glass slippers on the step sisters.

“The scene is hilarious and has the right amount of controlled chaos and great acting,” he added.

Junior Connor Sutton tries to fit the glass slipper on the foot of Cecelia, one of the ugly stepsisters, played by Streetsboro grad Sydney Miller, while the other cast members assist and argue. (Polly Dierkens)

Freshman Abigail Holmes appears several times in the show as an ensemble member, playing, as she described: a townsperson, a girl at the ball and an older lady.

Prior to opening night, Holmes had said she expected the audience to enjoy that with the actors, “the connections aren’t just acting on a stage or pretending.”

Both Holmes and Mason Boardwine also expect the audience to be wowed by the music.

“The songs are the biggest strengths,” Boardwine said, “The thing that always gets me is the music.”

“I never would’ve thought so much emotion and warmth could be felt in just a song alone,” Holmes added.

One of their original songs, “How Would You Know,” is sung by Aliyah Wright and Faith Carey, as Cinderella and the Evil Stepmother, and is described by Boardwine as a combative, back-and-forth “showstopper part of the show.”

He referred to the two performers as the most impressive singers he has heard.

Aliyah Wright, as Cinderella, sings in the show’s sold-out, opening-night performance at The Geauga Theater in Chardon. (Polly Dierkens)

Holmes said the audience will experience moments of sadness, laughter, and joy. “I believe the audience will be generally blown away and truly just astonished and amazed with the purity in the show,” she said.

For more information on this and other Thrive shows, visit: