REVIEW: Cinderella

The National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.
The National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

Fairy tales never go out of style and with the recent surge in popularity, its no wonder that CINDERELLA played to such a packed house on opening night. What’s interesting, though, is that its not the same Cinderella most of us remember.

Oh, all the elements are there.  Wicked stepmother, fairy godmothers, glass slippers, a disastrous midnight clock-strike . . . but this updated book by one of my favorites Douglas Carter Beane also adds political intrigue, a side-romance for a not-so-wicked stepsister, and some contemporary dialogue that makes the show feel fresh and new.

I know traditionalists probably won’t care for some of the updates.  I was a little worried about the loss of the glass slipper, myself.  But it was there – with enough self-referential irony to be cool.  I enjoyed the show much more than I anticipated.

The cast is top-notch.  Standouts were Cinderella herself, Paige Faure, her prince Topher, Andy Jones, and the delightfully sweet Ashley Park as Gabrielle.  For laughs and over-the-top scenery chewing, Kecia Lewis’s fairy godmother, Beth Glover’s stepmother, and Aymee Garcia’s “Charlotte” are all there to provide laughs, charm, and hold the story together.

The costumes are wonderful, the music as good as any Rodgers and Hammerstein show, but the real star is the stage magic.  The quick costume changes on stage for Cinderella herself left this “magic buff” wondering exactly “how did they do that” a couple of times.

Fairy tales are not just for children anymore, though this one would certainly be appropriate for them to see.  Adults will enjoy themselves, too.   I know I did – and I was surprised just how much.

CINDERELLA runs through January 18th at the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati.  Tickets and more information are available here.

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