Cast of Black Rock Theater Company’s ‘Cinderella’ includes Monroe talent

Audrey Lesko, 17, a Masuk High School senior, will play the role of Gabrielle in Black Rock Theater Company's production of "Cinderella", to be performed at Westport Country Playhouse later this month.

Rogers and Hammerstein’s  musical “Cinderella” will be performed by the Black Rock Theater Company at Westport Country Playhouse February 17-25 and feature Broadway stars Antonio Cipriano, Kaitlyn Davidson and Tony Award Winner Cady Huffman. Rising young talent from surrounding towns are also part of the cast, including three performers from Monroe.

Audrey Lesko, 17, a Masuk High School senior, will play the role of Gabrielle, one of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. She has been in 16 shows and is currently auditioning at colleges to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music.

Lesko, who will star as Ariel’s best friend Rusty in Masuk’s production of “Footloose” this March, participated in a rehearsal for “Cinderella” at Black Rock Theater in Fairfield on Saturday.

She and her friend, Kari, who plays Charlotte, the other stepsister, are the only students with principal roles. Lesko said this production of “Cinderella” will be a magical experience for audiences.

“In this version of ‘Cinderella’ the stepmother is mean and the sisters are nicer,” Lesko said. “Charlotte is a little more vain, but she means well. It all comes together at the end. What I love about this production is it has a lot of depth.”

Siblings Leah Sorensen, 13, and James, 9, of Monroe play as townspeople in the ensemble.

“We sing, dance and act,” said Leah, who has been in theater for five or six years. “I’m a huge dancer. I love to dance.”

Leah Sorensen, 13, and her brother James, 9, are part of the ensemble.

“I love to dance, sing and act,” James said. “I love all of it.”

“Cinderella” is directed by Connor Dean.

“Our whole mission here is to provide quality education for young people, while connecting them with professionals in the industry,” he said of Black Rock Theater Company, a nonprofit celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Dean said the theater company’s production of “Cinderella” will give people the opportunity to see talented youth in the community onstage with working professionals.

Among the seasoned actors, Cady Huffman, who plays as the Fairy Godmother, starred in “The Producers” opposite Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and Kaitlyn Davidson, who stars as Cinderella, had performed as the understudy for the character on Broadway.

“You’re getting Broadway quality shows in our backyard,” Dean said.

The cast of  Cinderella includes young talent with ages ranging from nine to 18, hailing from Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport, Monroe, Weston, Easton and Redding.

For information and tickets to the show, visit the Westport Country Playhouse website by clicking here. To learn about Black Rock Theater, click here.

A rising star

Audrey Lesko, who is an accomplished singer, performed the role of Liesl von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” with the Black Rock Theater Company last year, took conservatory classes there and is now learning to dance.

“She’s fantastic. We were thrilled to have her back for the show,” Dean said of Lesko joining the cast of “Cinderella”. “She’s an exceptionally talented young person. She prepped for all of her college auditions here with us, so we’re excited to be part of that journey.”

Lesko, whose mother, Julee, was in theater, had been enrolled in theater camps when she was only six-years-old. She said she enjoys the strong support of her family, including her father, Michael and sister, Madeline, 23, in her pursuit of a career in the arts.

“Theater develops your communication skills,” Lesko said. “It’s helped me with public speaking. I love doing it. I hope to do this as a profession. It really prepares you for the future. This helps prepare me for college.”

A lawn sign advertises “Cinderella” at a corner of Post Road in Fairfield.

Lesko said what she loves most about acting is connecting with the audience, while relaying a message and watching them interpret what she’s doing. She said theater is like a sport onstage with everyone supporting each other.

Lesko’s favorite role all-time was Regina George in “Mean Girls”. “It’s cool to play a character different than I am, because she is mean,” she said.

Lesko said she has enjoyed her experience at Black Rock Theater, whose motto is: Connecting the Stars of Today with the Stars of Tomorrow.

“It’s nice to have these role models here,” she said. Of acting, she said, “it’s really important for me. If you can do it, I recommend doing it. Watching young kids here come into their own — it’s a beautiful experience.”

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