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1681 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
Now showing, Closes 3 Jan 2015
2013 Tony Winner
Reassuringly old-fashioned and refreshingly irreverent, sentimental and snarky, sincere and ironic, all at once!
Ben Brantley, The New York TimesBuy Tickets
"Magical" seems an obvious, even trite label to attach to any adaptation of the fairy tale classic, Cinderella. The story begins "once upon a time," after all, and features a fairy godmother, enchanted objects, a royal ball, and the most dazzling footwear in the literary canon. Yet when referencing Rodgers + Hammerstein's 2013 Broadway production of Cinderella (and now its First National Tour), the term "magical" truly takes on a fresh, new meaning.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II originally wrote Cinderella for a 1957 television broadcast starring Julie Andrews. Though stage productions were mounted and film remakes (including Disney's popular 1997 made-for-television movie starring Brandy and Whitney Houston) have kept the score familiar to audiences in the decades since, Cinderella didn't enjoy a Broadway bow until the 2013 season.
This Tony-nominated adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane, under the direction of Mark Brokaw, retains Cinderella's familiar fairy tale elements while deftly weaving in more contemporary points of view. Modern day colloquialisms and attitudes are thoughtfully and humorously blended into the script. Beane's book also gives "Ella" rather more substance than her predecessors. Above and beyond attending the ball to meet the handsome royal heir, Ella uses her enchanted opportunity to enlighten Prince Topher about the corruption in his court and the injustices visited on the kingdom's poorest residents.
With these intriguing revisions - and given the demands of the part - the First National Tour is blessed to have Paige Faure as its leading lady. Faure comes to the tour directly from the New York company of Cinderella, and her experience as Ella on Broadway provides her a grasp of the character that is clear from the very moment she steps into the spotlight. She beautifully conveys Ella's innate kindness, bravery, and optimism while also capturing the loneliness and longing for connection that provide needed balance and complexity to the role. Faure is an outstanding vocalist with a lovely, pure instrument, and she shines in her performances of "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible," and "A Lovely Night."
Andy Jones also joins the national tour from the Broadway production of Cinderella. Prince Topher experiences perhaps the most observable character growth in the story. Topher is sheltered and manipulated by his Prime Minister, but Jones makes the young monarch believably naïve without ever appearing dim. As the story unfolds, Jones subtly allows Topher to gain confidence and authority in his royal role, even as he presents a genuine approachableness during interactions with the poorest and lowest-born of his subjects. Jones and Faure are excellent scene partners, and they pair well together on their duets "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" and "Ten Minutes Ago."
Kecia Lewis blends comedy and majesty together in her performance as Ella's Fairy Godmother, Marie. She has some of the best entrances - whether high-flying or low key - in the production, and her rich singing voice soars during "Impossible/It's Possible" and "There's Music in You."
Beane's revisions to Cinderella are also surprisingly funny. Some of the wittiest one-liners are provided by Antoine L. Smith as royal herald, Lord Pinkleton; Smith's newscaster-style reports of kingdom announcements have amazing timing and superior comic delivery. Aymee Garcia also nabs the spotlight as Cinderella's youngest stepsister, Charlotte. The feisty Garcia sells her character's clueless, self-absorbed outbursts with all appropriate bluster, and she wins lots of laughs when Charlotte leads the ladies of the court in the "Stepsister's Lament."
William Ivey Long's Tony-Award-winning costumes are practically characters in their own right. Long's careful attention is evident in every detail, from the tattered hemlines and scuffed shoes of the peasants to the sumptuous fabrics and frills of upper-crust society's ballroom attire. But without a doubt, the most outstanding of Long's creations are the blink-and-you'll-miss-it transformation costumes worn by Ella and Marie. These amazing dresses steal the show in an astonishing and undeniable display of stage magic; it is well-nigh impossible to pinpoint the moment Ella's soot-stained rags change into a glittering tiara and ball gown - not that you'd want to if you could. Some magic is best left to the discretion of fairy godmothers.
Anna Louizos is to be commended for her scenic work on Cinderella. The forest sets have depth and dimension, giving Ella's woodland home a storybook quality, while the palace's spare décor provides a regal setting without overwhelming the actors' multi-hued and lavish costume pieces. Josh Rhodes' choreography is outstanding, giving each dance scene its own distinct tone and character; while the steps are intricate and challenging, this company of excellent dancers makes each number appear effortless and graceful.
The launch of a touring production is often a hit-or-miss endeavor. Smaller cities may be chosen as a proving ground for companies to work out hiccups before moving on to larger markets. The cast and crew of Cinderella, however, have already polished their performance to a brilliant shine; this tour is Broadway quality in every particular, brimming with talent, and an utter delight and a joy to watch. From singing and dancing to costumes and sets, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella is one of the highest-caliber shows to play PPAC in recent years.
In addition, this is a truly family-friendly show. The material is substantive yet still accessible and thoroughly enjoyable for audience members of every age. True, adults will better appreciate Cinderella's humor, but the jokes are refreshingly delivered without any of the innuendo-laden gags that so often mar other so-called "family"-themed productions.
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella plays the Providence Performing Arts Center through Saturday, October 18, 2014. Family Night at Cinderella is Wednesday, October 15 at 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ppacri.org, by phone (401) 421-ARTS (2787), or by visiting the box office at 220 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI. Ticket prices range from $53-$80; group orders (20 or more) may be placed by calling (401) 574-3162.
Photo by Carol Rosegg
Article reprinted with permission from www.BroadwayWorld.com
19 reviews, average rating: (3.7 Stars)
Then watch the tv version. The updating was smart, lighthearted, and overal... more
This "updated" version of Cinderella is enchanting and beautiful. Rodgers... more
We have watched numerous broadway productions and loved this one! While I... more
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