WAYNE, NJ - Imagine the story of Cinderella if the fairy godmother never came to help. It would be a story about hard work with no happy ending. This is what happened to the seniors of Wayne Hills who had put in months of effort to create what they knew would be a magical performance at the annual spring musical. But there was no magic and no performance.

In Hills’ version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, senior Olivia Ramadas was cast as the evil stepmother and senior Jose Vanputtenvink was the stage manager for the show.

“We started rehearsals in January, right after we had auditions, and held rehearsals every day, including Saturdays,” said Vanputtenvink. “The sets were built, the costumes were ready, everyone knew their lines, tickets were being sold, then the schools were shut down, we went into quarantine and that was it.” 

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“We were about a week or two away from our first performance, and we were very ready to perform, and everyone was really, really excited,” said Ramadas.

Months of preparation, memorizing lines, practicing the songs, building sets, putting costumes together, all for nothing.  As dedicated members of the drama club, these two seniors wanted this last show to be their best. 

They held out hope that school would be re-opened, and the shows would be rescheduled, but with Governor Murphy’s order last week, that hope disappeared.

“We were all pretty devastated,” said Vanputtenvink. “For us Seniors, seeing our last show taken away from us and from all the kids who love to perform and who prepared for so long, is just awful.”

For the last three springs, after the final performance of each musical, Ramadas watched seniors honored on stage in front of the audience. They were introduced to applause, commended for their dedication and given a rose in a traditional ceremony.  This was her year to earn that praise and the moment in the spotlight. 

“I was looking forward not only to performing, but for that moment after, and to never have that, it’s just upsetting,” she said.

The same disappointment was felt across town, at Wayne Valley where their spring musical The Addams Family was also canceled after their own months of hard work and preparation. 

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This is part of a series of articles about seniors from Wayne who missed out on important milestone events due to the COVID quarantine.

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