CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Add to the many versions of the "Cinderella" story one more by local playwright Kelly Strom.
And why not: Writers have been adapting the folk tale for hundreds of years. There's a French version, along with Italian and German ones. The Brothers Grimm even used it. A version of it may even have been written in the first century B.C.
Strom wasn't trying to enter into the annals of history when she penned "Cinderella . . . Ever After" for the LimeLight Theatre Company. Rather, she wanted to think beyond the best-known version of the tale, the one produced by Disney.
"My inspiration was reading the original 'Cinderella' stories," she said. "It has changed so much over the last few centuries, but the theme remains the same. True love wins out and evil is overcome by the goodness of mankind."
Strom said the version most of us are most familiar with offers only a slice of Cinderella's life.
She wondered, "What else is there?"
So her version follows Cinderella from the time she is very young until she finally marries her prince.
Although LimeLight, founded by Strom and her husband, Dennis, produces adult shows, in this case she was writing for a cast and an audience of all ages.
"A real fairy tale - 'And they all live happily ever after' - this is what it's really about for young children, knowing that things can work out and evil can be overcome, that we can all live together in peace."
Writing a play that will be done mostly by youth requires some special consideration, including "the time they are on stage, the complexity of the character, the difficulty of the dialogue and creating interesting, fun characters that they can relate to - also a story line that they can follow."
The youngest Cinderella is played by 4-year-old Ava Dunbar, who reports she had no trouble learning her part.
"My line is, 'Yay!' " she said.
Julia Preservati, 9, plays the next-oldest Cinderella. Already a veteran of community theater, she said she was surprised when she saw the script contained parts for Cinderella 1, Cinderella 2, and so forth.
"I'm kind of a tomboy," she said of her role. "What happens is I accidentally kick a soccer ball and it hits the prince."
The two young actors have a moment when they both pick up the ball and gaze into each other's eyes. Foreshadowing!
Next up is Camryn Payne, 10, who plays a teen Cinderella.