Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the 2013 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical from the creators of The King & I and The Sound of Music, will play the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, July 5-8.

With its fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this hilarious and romantic Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella combines the story’s classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting. She is a spirited young woman with savvy and soul who doesn’t let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She longs to escape the drudgery of her work at home and instead works to make the world a better place. She not only fights for her own dreams, but forces the prince to open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams too. 

One of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular titles, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was written for television – debuting in 1957 starring Julie Andrews. In 2013, the show made its long-overdue Broadway debut. Along with Cinderella, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s legendary musicals include Oklahoma!, Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific and The Sound of Music.

It was a pleasure to sit down with John Barsoian, who is in the ensemble and also understudies for the characters of Topher and Sebastian.

What was the first memory you have of performing/singing?

My family has always been artistic and musical. Since I was younger, music theatre was always a part of our lives. But my very first show was The Velveteen Rabbit when I was seven. I played a rabbit, and I think the only thing I really remember is that we danced the bunny hop at the end of the show. 

What was your first professional (paid) gig?

It was in a summer stock production of The Sound of Music, and I was in the male ensemble. It was at Artpark in upstate New York, and it is the most beautiful place to work! We were so close to the Canadian border; we would regularly spend time at Niagara Falls. An unbelievable experience! 

Other than this role, what has been your favorite role?

A few summers ago, I played “Bert” in Mary Poppins, and it was an amazing production to be a part of. The role is so energetic and exciting, and the show is incredibly magical. I would love to be a part of that show again at some point! 

What is your fantasy role to play? 

I’ll say “Norma Desmond” from Sunset Boulevard. You said fantasy, right? Haha. I was able to see Glenn Close’s revival performance, and she was just incredible. The role is complex and outrageous, and I’ve been in love with the show ever since I listened to it when I was younger. 

What should the Central Florida audiences expect out of this touring company of Cinderella?

Our production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is an updated, stage version of the classic fairy tale. Audiences will experience the same beauty and magic they should expect from the original Rodgers & Hammerstein production but with a more profound message. I hope audiences leave feeling revived and hopeful for their futures. 

What’s ahead for you?

Tampa is the last stop on our 2017-18 tour.  After Tampa, I will be heading back to New York City and start auditioning! Touring the country has been so incredible and rewarding, but I am excited to be in one place again. 

Happy #PRIDE from @cinderellabway ❤🧡💛💚💙 #itspossible #cinderellabway

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Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will play the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, July 5-8. Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $38-$83 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at

For more information on Cinderella, please visit