Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (with Deaf Austin Theatre)
by Zach Theatre

Jan. 25 - Mar. 05

(via Ground Floor Theatre)This enchanting Tony®-nominated musical fairytale will put a spell on audiences of all ages. In partnership with Deaf Austin Theatre and performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella showcases some of your favorite tunes including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this funny, modern adaptation from the delightful Broadway revival. Add a dash of romance, a splash of stage magic–and POOF!–you’re guaranteed to have a ball!

Co-Directed by Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Theatre Michael Baron and Deaf Austin Theatre (DAT) Artistic Director Dr. Brian Cheslik, the Tony®-nominated musical fairytale Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will come to life in The Topfer to start the New Year for 2023. 

This fresh new musical and family favorite will be performed in both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English with supertitles artistically incorporated into the scenic design and fully inclusive experience from the time patrons arrive at the theatre. Broadway veteran SANDRA MAE FRANK (Deaf West’s Spring Awakening) will play the title role of Ella. Sandra recently was Co-Director (with Michael Baron) of the critically acclaimed production of The Music Man at Olney Theatre in Maryland and can currently be seen as Dr. Elizabeth Wilder on “New Amsterdam” on NBC.

“Upon beginning pre-production work, I immediately found that we share theatrical mindset. It’s been an amazing collaborative and directing partnership that I hope leads to future endeavors between Deaf Austin Theatre and ZACH as well as Deaf Austin Theatre and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, which is where Michael is based as artistic director,” expressed director Dr. Brian Cheslik. “This production is so important because it provides a space for deaf performers who have long been ignored in this industry. It will help people to realize that yes, deaf people can enjoy music and perform in musicals too. We can do anything hearing people can do…even here! We just do it a different way.”

Michael Baron said, “Collaborating with both deaf and hearing artists on musicals has been a rewarding and constantly creative process.  Sandra Mae Frank and I recently co-directed a deaf/hearing production of The Music Man in Washington, DC. The process of working on that show was revolutionary in that for the first time the deaf perspective was of equal or of greater importance to the interpretation of the material. Many of the deaf artists who worked on The Music Man are a part of this company of Cinderella - including my co-director, Sandra Mae Frank. She is returning to the stage in the lead role of Cinderella. Creating this production will be challenging, joyous, heartfelt, and full of discoveries - but one, I promise, you love and remember for years to come.” 



The cast of deaf and hearing actors will also include TREY HARRINGTON as Topher; MEREDITH MCCALL as Madam; KENNY WILLIAMS as Sebastian; MERVIN PRIMEAUX-O’BRYANT as Marie/Fairy Godmother, KRISSY LEMON as Gabrielle; SARA BURKE as Charlotte; GREGOR LOPES as Jean-Michel; CHRISTOPHER TESTER as Lord Pinkleton; HEBA TOULAN as Ensemble; EMILY CATALFAMO as Ensemble/Ella Swing;  LEE WALTER as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Marie, MARIEL ARDILA as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Ella; TAYLOR FLANAGAN as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Gabrielle; and JORDAN BARRON as Ensemble/Singing Voice for Jean-Michel. 

Directed by MICHAEL BARON and DR. BRIAN CHESLIK. Production team includes ALLEN ROBERTSON as musical director, CASSIE ABATE as choreographer, MERVIN PRIMEAUX-O’BRYANT as assistant choreographer; STEPHANIE BUSING as scenic, properties and projections designer, CHRIS EVANS as assistant projections designer, JEFFREY MEEK as costume designer, SERRET JENSEN as hair and makeup designer, ANNIE WIEGARD as lighting designer, FABIAN GARCIA as assistant lighting designer, ANNA ALEX as sound designer, SHANNON RICHEY as stage manager, KAILYN AARON-LOZANOas Lead Director of ASL, and LAILA HANAUMI as Director of ASL.

On why bringing Cinderella to the stage was important, ZACH Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley said, “With over 50,000 deaf and hard of hearing residents in Austin, I want to make sure ZACH is serving the members of our community, especially the students at Texas School for the Deaf. It occurred to me that a newer Broadway adaptation of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella would be a good story because this version puts her in the driver’s seat of her life’s journey. Likewise, I want us to produce a work that puts our deaf director, choreographer, actors and production team in control. It has been a very exciting process so far, and I know the result will be a highly original interpretation of this classic tale that is joyous and moving in its inclusivity.”

Steakley continued, “Brian Cheslik is the leading deaf director in our state, and he knows ZACH well as he has signed many of our performances over the years. It made sense to pair him with Michael Baron, who is at the forefront of productions which collaborate between ASL and English, having helmed several productions across the country as the hearing director. The creativity is sparking between these two great artists.”

Age recommendation: Six and up 

Run time: Approximately two hours with a 20-minute intermission.

Review by Joni Lorraine for Austin Broadway World, February 1, 2023


Sandra Mae Frank – Ella

Trey Harrington – Topher

Meredith McCall – Madame

Kenny Williams – Sebastian

Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant – Marie/Fairy Godmother

Krissy Lemon – Gabrielle

Sara Burke – Charlotte

Gregor Lopes – John-Michel

Christopher Tester – Lord Pinkleton

Heba Toulan – Ensemble

Emily Catalfamo – Ensemble/Ella Swing

Lee Walter – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Marie

Mariel Ardila – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Ella

Taylor Flanagan – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Gabrielle

Jordan Barron – Ensemble/Singing Voice for Jean-Michel 


Michael Baron – Co-Director

Dr. Brian Cheslik – Co-Director

Allen Robertson – Musical Director

Cassie Abate – Choreographer

Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant – Assistant Choreographer

Stephanie Busing – Scenic, Properties & Projections Designer

Chris Evans – Projections Assistant 

Jeffrey Meek – Costume Designer

Serret Jensen – Hair and Makeup Designer

Annie Weigand – Lighting Designer

Fabian Garcia – Assistant Lighting Designer 

Anna Alex – Sound Designer

Shannon Richey – Stage Manager

Danielle Grisko – Assistant Stage Manager

Casey Boriskie – Assistant Stage Manager

Kailyn Aaron-Lozano – Lead Director of ASL

Laila Hanaumi – Director of ASL

Shannon Ploeger – ASL Interpreter Coordinator




Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (with Deaf Austin Theatre)
by Richard Rodgrs, Oscar Hammerstein II
Zach Theatre

January 25 - March 05, 2023
Zach Theatre
1510 Toomey Road
Austin, TX, 78704

January 25–March 5, 2023

Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

The Topfer at ZACH | 202 South Lamar  | Austin, TX | 78704
Tickets are $25 - $95, available at ZACH’s box office – 512-476-0541 x1,

Special Event in celebration of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella:

  • Pride Night on Thursday, January 26, 2023


Though masks are optional at ZACH Theatre at this time, wearing a high-quality mask (KF94, KN95, or better) is encouraged as it can provide individuals with additional protection. 

The health and safety of our ZACH family has always been our first priority, and we will continue to monitor risk levels in Austin and update our policies in accordance with CDC and Austin Public Health guidelines.  

Find a complete list of ZACH’s Health & Safety commitments, please visit