Degrassi star does 'Cinderella'

Degrassi star does ‘Cinderella’

Updated Fri. Oct. 17 2008 12:27 PM ET

Tyrone Warner, CTV.ca

One of the newest stars of ‘Degrassi’ isn’t just going to prom — she’s going to the royal ball!

Paula Brancati, who plays Jane on the hit drama, landed the lead role in the Ross Petty production of “Cinderella: The Sillylicious Family Musical.”

Petty’s “Fractured Fairy Tale Musicals” are an annual holiday tradition in Toronto, and Brancati will make her Cinderella debut Nov. 28 at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre. The production runs until Jan. 4

And that’s not all. ‘Degrassi’ alum Jake Epstein (who played Craig Manning for five years), will be her Prince Charming. Petty will play Cinderella’s evil stepmother, children’s performer Patty Sullivan will be the fairy godmother, and the cast is filled with veteran musical theatre performers and Stratford Festival regulars.

“I’m really pumped — I love doing musicals, and this is a big deal” exclaims Brancati during an interview with CTV.ca. “I’m just so excited to be working with these seasoned theatre actors.”

Brancati joined “Degrassi” in season seven as Lakehurst student Jane, who ended up in a relationship with Spinner (Shane Kippel) while he was battling with testicular cancer.

The actress previously earned a Gemini nomination for her role on “Dark Oracle” and starred in the CBC series “The Blobheads.” Besides acting, Brancati is also a classically trained vocalist and piano player — making musical theatre the perfect vehicle.

“When I was nine I discovered that music theatre could be another way to express myself — being up on stage, singing and dancing. I’ve kept it up because I love it,” says Brancati. “I think it’s another outlet for many actors simply because acting is a form of expression and music is like that too… it’s comforting.”

This season on “Degrassi,” the actress promises that audiences are going to gain new insight into her character, Jane. “She’s starting to come into her own. She’s always been confident, and always very sure of herself,” says Brancati.

“She also experiences some darker parts of her past too.”

In an upcoming arc on “Degrassi,” Jane joins the football team and deals with what Brancati calls “heavy-duty male chauvinism” and other forms of hazing.

“I’m very critical of my own work, but the football sequences are really great, and the guys in it were so fun to work with. I was the only girl around for that episode, so it was hard, but also very fun to do.”

Brancati also reveals that there could be storm clouds ahead for Jane and Spinner. “Our relationship is in a bit of a rollercoaster ride — going to university and figuring out our futures, which causes some conflict. But Shane and I are really good friends and we always have a laugh on set!”

Season eight of “Degrassi: The Next Generation” airs Sunday nights at 7:30 pm ET on CTV.

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