New musical ‘Saving Cinderella’ brings poverty into spotlight

Most people know the story of Cinderella and how she and Prince Charming lived happily ever after. But what if that’s not what actually happened?

“Saving Cinderella,” a new musical written and composed by Christine Duncan, will attempt to answer that question and shed some light on issues Duncan herself has faced including poverty.

“We want to go after this at all angles and show the nuisances of poverty and charity,” she said. “What is real help and what isn’t? One of the things people don’t think about is how people come up and out (of poverty).”

Duncan is a self-proclaimed Air Force brat who grew up in Germany, California and eventually Fairborn. Her love for musicals came out of her travels. She said her time in Europe really fueled her love for fairy tales and musical theatre.

After returning to Fairborn with her husband, she worked in the mental health field in an administrative role. A series of hardships followed, including the loss of income, death and health issues.

“I was at the zenith of my career when this all happened,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for family, we would’ve been in the homeless shelter. I had been volunteering helping those in poverty, but to live it made it even more real.”

Duncan was volunteering with different anti-poverty efforts in the area. She also was part of Think Tank, Inc.’s Change Leader Alliance, which is where she met Rameka Smith, who has been helping her with this project. Smith runs CE3: Community Enrichment, Encouragement and Empowerment, a non-profit organization inspiring people living in low-income communities to burst through glass ceilings and push into new possibilities.

“(Smith) was always told by her mother, she would make something of herself,” Duncan said. “But she always had that voice in her head telling her the opposite.”

Duncan is currently trying to raise enough funds through a Kickstarter campaign that is set to expire at midnight on Monday, Feb. 14. She needs $45,000 so that she can move forward with finding a venue and casting the musical.

The campaign is structured as a presale of tickets and corporate sponsorships – including the Hero Ticket. The Hero Ticket sends a child and their parent/guardian or other approved adult to go see the production of “Saving Cinderella.” The Heroes will be consultants for the show.

Beyond the Kickstarter, Duncan is looking for more partnerships. She currently is working with TheatreLab Dayton, CE3 and Think Tank, Inc.’s Change Leader Alliance. She said these groups have beneficial partners to help those in the community find solutions.

“We want to elevate the experience of those in poverty and help society to see it,” she said. “The vision is for a holistic poverty-fighting experience. We want a shifted mindset for all and cross socioeconomic and racial lines.”

The goal is for the musical to debut in December 2022. If they don’t receive sufficient funds, Duncan will explore other fundraising options. She said right now her focus is getting to opening night, but she is hopeful.

“There are moments when I allow myself to dream,” she said. “I look online for dresses I might wear. Opening night will be about honoring my patrons and showing gratitude is at the top of list.”

Beyond donating to the campaign or becoming a partner, there will be a Cinderella’s Valentines Ball on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at Culp’s Café at Carillon Park. Seats are limited, so an RSVP is necessary.

For more information visit or the Kickstarter campaign.

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