Magic and romance under the stars

Photo by Lindsay Elliott Photography.

Dreams do come true during the summer nights, and Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) invites audiences to see their two new musicals for the 2018 summer season. Vancouver’s vision of Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein’s Cinderella and 42nd Street will run at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl stage (July 4–Aug. 18).

“We’re doing a show with a diverse cast and nowhere else is [a] better place to do this show,” says Tré Cotten, who plays prince charming in Cinderella.

The most popular fairy tale: Cinderella

Cinderella, a well-known fairy tale comes to the stage with a modernized version.

Cotten, a North Carolina native, received an MFA in acting from the University of Washington School of Drama. He is very excited about his role in Cinderella as Prince Topher.

“This is touching on everything. I was excited because the prince is not just a regular quiet prince charming,” says Cotten. “He is also struggling, and he has an actual journey to go through. I am pretty impressed about that.”

The Tony Award-winning musical is directed by Sarah Rodgers and choreographed by Nicol Spinola, with musical direction by Brent Hughes.

Cotten had the chance to work with Sarah Rodgers before Cinderella. Now, he is happy to work with her again.

“Sarah, [is] really great with directing and motivating the actors. As a black actor, I give great value on that in this industry,” says Cotten.

In the story, both Cinderella and Prince Topher lose their parents. While drawing [on] the prince charming role, Cotten focuses on being human.

“A young man deals with the loss of parents and tries to find out who he is. So, I would apply the humanness first. And as an actor, I’m trying to live my truth,” says Cotten.

A black man as a Prince Charming

Cotten is proud to represent a black man in the prince charming role.

“As a black man, I have an opportunity to play the prince. While I was growing up, I didn’t watch a black actor in this role,” says Cotten. “With this role, I’m giving hope to people who look like me. This is a form of education and feels great.”

As a foreigner and a black actor, he is delighted to be in Vancouver.

“In Vancouver, I hear so many different languages and [there are] many people who have different lifestyles. I really love that because it educates me about what else is out there,” says Cotten. “We’re doing a show with [a] diverse cast and nowhere else would be a better place to do this show. Vancouver is in action rather than just talking about the diversity. I really appreciate that.”

Family basics

Every summer, since 1940, TUTS has gotten the amateur and professional actors together for Vancouver audiences and visitors.

Cotten is happy to be working with TUTS for the first time.

“I have heard about how they do one of the best, beautiful and magical things in the summer. The performances are natural and beautiful under the night lights,” says Cotten.

TUTS makes the shows real with the help of more than 200 volunteers every season.

“The volunteers and the board members are very generous, kind and caring. Everybody in the show is giving all their energy and trying to do their best. I take very good and positive energy. TUTS is like a family or a community. I love that,” says Cotten.


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