Richland 44 High School is hoping for more than “A Lovely Night” beginning Friday, Nov. 22.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” opens that evening for three performances only. For more than 60 years, the musical has charmed audiences with songs including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Ten Minutes Ago” and the “Stepsisters’ Lament.”

“This version is just a little bit updated,” director Lanah Akvik said. “It has the love story, but it’s not just the love story. Our Cinderella has her own voice. It’s about being kind to others and having the inclusiveness and kindness that happens in a community.”

“Cinderella” will have 7 p.m. performances on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23. There will be a 2:30 p.m. performance Sunday, Nov. 24. Admission is $5 for students and faculty, $10 for adults and free for ages 5 and under. Richland 44 High School is located at 101 Main St. in Colfax, North Dakota.

“We’ve been rehearsing since the end of August,” said Hanna Johnson, the Richland 44 senior who plays Cinderella. “I’m a dancer and I thought that would prepare me for the waltzing and ballroom dancing.”

Johnson’s main dance partner is senior Zach Wulfekuhle, who plays Prince Topher. The pair agree that their part of a talented ensemble.

“When I tried out for this, I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Wulfekuhle said.

Akvik, who attended Richland Elementary in Abercrombie, North Dakota, returned to the Richland 44 community to direct “Cinderella.”

“I am a theater nerd,” Akvik said. “Theater’s been a part of my life for a long time. I applied and here I am.”

Johnson and Wulfekuhle are proud to present a show with a message of kindness and positivity.

“You always have the ability to do right. Even if you have been through things, as Ella has, you can turn back and give to others,” Johnson said.

Wulfekuhle, who said he loves being part of a team, gave a nod to another popular song from the musical, “Impossible (It’s Possible).”

“Anything’s possible. In this story, a not as privileged person can meet the prince and they both can do what’s right,” he said.

“Cinderella” features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Hammerstein and Douglas Carter Beane. It’s being produced by arrangement with R&H Theatricals.

Tickets are available during the school day at Richland Elementary and Richland 44 High School, from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17 at Richland 44 High School and online. A small fee will be assessed for all tickets purchased at

“These are a great group of kids,” Akvik said. “They are amazing. They work hard every time.”

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