For 17-year-old Brianna Clark, it all started with a mouse.
“I was so amazed at the fact that I actually got to talk on stage and have focus for a second,” Clark said. “And I remember only two girls got to be chosen to be transformed into these white horses, and when they selected me I was just star struck.
“[I thought] ‘It’s my moment, I can’t believe it. I actually get to be the horse in front of the carriage. It’s such an iconic role’ — which is so hilarious because barely anyone remembers the horse in Cinderella.”
Now, the musical theatre actress is returning to her debut pantomime — this time in the title role.
“I definitely didn’t think I was going to get Cinderella by any means,” Clark said. She auditioned in September, thinking perhaps she would get to be a female ensemble member.
“I thought at most I would get four speaking lines,” she said. “They emailed me with Cinderella and I freaked out.”
Since September, Clark and the rest of the cast have been rehearsing three times a week. On Friday (Dec. 15), their hard work will pay off as Cinderella returns to Vancouver’s Metro Theatre, for a four-week run ending Jan. 6. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. and matinees are at 2 p.m.
There are going to be a lot of shows, Clark said, and she’s “a little bit nervous.”
“The show is very taxing vocally,” she said. “There’s a lot of belting and high stuff. It’s all over my range. But I’m excited to take it on. It’s definitely a challenge.”
She’s also eager, she said, because this year’s version takes a more modern approach to the classic tale.
“We decided to give Cinderella a little more empowerment than the classic ending does,” Clark said. “So I think it will be a really great message to promote to younger audiences, like the kids who are seeing it: women are strong too and women are independent.
“I just like the modern twist we put on it, I think that’s going to be really exciting to share with new audiences.”
But most importantly, Clark is excited to share the holiday pantomime tradition.
“Starting from five years old I was seeing the Metro pantomime shows. It was a Christmas tradition for me, and I think it’s super important to pass on to younger audiences,” she said.
“I’m just very grateful to be on the other side of it now, and spreading that holiday cheer.”
Cinderella runs from Dec. 15 through to Jan. 6 at the Metro Theatre (1370 SW Marine Dr., Vancouver). Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for students and seniors, and $17 for kids under 12. For more information or to reserve your seat, visit metrotheatre.com.