Show artwork for Wild

Creating the Magic of "Cinderella"

Posted on: December 9, 2021

Staging operas is hard work. Each opera is carefully crafted by a dedicated team of artists, artisans, administrators and you. Yep, you.

As a nonprofit, we rely on your support to create the awe-inspiring sounds of a powerhouse orchestra, the detailed and immersive scenery that fills the stage, and the transformative costume designs donned by some of the brightest stars in opera. Meaning: nothing we do none of the jobs we create and none of the art we produce would be possible without you.

Each performance of Cinderella takes:

  • 23 breathtaking singers who trained for years to master their craft;
  • 43 of Los Angeles' most talented musicians giving their all in the pit;
  • 52 carpenters, lighting designers, prop masters and other crew members working their magic backstage to make sure everything goes off without a hitch;
  • 41 people to hand-craft all the details of our costumes and wigs, and style our singers each show;
  • 3 stage managers to coordinate with the other 162 (and counting) people who bring this grand production to life.

And we're really only scratching the surface here. 

We also have a team of four COVID compliance officers on site every performance to make sure everyone behind the scenes—and all of you—are as safe as possible. There’s also an additional six technicians who perform COVID tests on an average of 220 artists, artisans, crew and staff. We even got applauded by the LA County Health Department for our safety protocols, and how well our audience followed them (so, again, thank you).  

There are hundreds of moving parts, props and people who need to work together to create the magic of Cinderella each night. An hour and a half before the show even starts, our wardrobe, wig and makeup teams get to work dressing and styling our artists. They transform each person into a fantastical character from Rossini’s dream world. “The color palette and costumes are so bright and fun,” said Julie Carr-Schafer, the production’s costume supervisor. “It’s been a joy to see all of our hard work come together.” 


Left: Serena Malfi getting her makeup done by our senior wig and makeup artist, Nicole Rodrigues. Right: Levy Sekgapane getting his makeup done by our wig and makeup artist, Morgan Sellers. (Photo: Eliza Logan)

Meanwhile, stage manager Whitney McAnally and assistant stage managers Barbara Donner and Melanie Bacaling prep for the show. They coordinate with everyone behind the scenes to keep our team on track (and on time) for a great performance. And when we say everyone, we mean everyone. They call for props, lighting, artists, choristers, scene changes—you name it. Any movement you see on stage, they cued it up. In fact, the three of them call over 259 cues in every run of Cinderella.   

“This show requires an insane amount of teamwork across the board. You might find a moment or two in other shows where you can take a quick break, but that’s not the case for this one,” Whitney McAnally said. “There’s constant motion on and off stage. It’s a big, crazy production but it’s amazing to see it all come together each night.” 

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Assistant stage manager, Melanie Bacaling, giving a cue to two of our choristers (Photo: Eliza Logan)

Of our 52 crew members, 22 carpenters man moveable staircases; 14 electricians make sure our lights are shining just right; nine prop masters set and move all of the décor (including bathtubs and mattresses) where it’s supposed to be; and seven audio visual engineers work our house cameras to make sure the performance looks as good on screen as it does in real life.  

“There’s about 187 props in this show, and most of them are big, heavy furniture pieces,” Scott Shepard, our Property Master, said. “We’re moving wardrobes, tables and bathtubs on and off tall platforms in a very short amount of time. It's a lot of work. The crew has a running joke that when the show’s over, we’ll have enough experience to start our own moving company.” 

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Crew members working during a performance of "Cinderella" (Photo: Eliza Logan)

And of course, our principal artists, orchestra and conductor bring all of this behind the scenes work to life on stage for an unforgettable performance each and every time. “It’s been such a blessing to be here and work with my fellow artists and this incredible crew. I’ve been shown so much love and warmth—it really does feel like I’m a part of a family,” Levy Sekgapane, our leading Prince Don Ramiro, said. “I’m just so grateful to be doing what I love and working with some amazing people too.” 

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Levy Sekgapane as Don Ramiro, waiting backstage for his cue (Photo: Eliza Logan)

So when the breathtaking music of Cinderella transports you into Rossini’s fantasy world, know that it took 162 people (and counting) behind the scenes to take you there.  

You can support these talented individuals, and so many more, by making a charitable donation today.