Richard Ropiak from New York, New York
THIS IS NO ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN CINDERALLA
I was disappointed with the production. I expected the play to appeal to all ages. The Papermill Playhouse adaptation missed the mark. I did not think the social justice messages were presented in a manner that was appropriate for the youngsters in my family. A nine year old girl at the show wanted to know why Jean-Michel was a character in the timeless Cinderella story ---- she was puzzled and annoyed with him. And then the glass slippers ------ a major twist from the fairy tale we all know and poorly presented (written) at best. In all a shameful adaptation and presentation of a classic. Oscar Hammerstein was quoted as saying "We want the kids who see it to recognize the story they know. Children can be very critical on that score. But, of course, their parents will be watching too, so we have tried to humanize the characters without altering the familiar plot structure." Well on the first point the Papermill Playhouse version failed and on the second point the adaptation was a slap in the face to the genius of Oscar and Hammerstein and their commentary of societal issues (ie. South Pacific, The King and I, etc.).
Madame X from South Orange, N. J.
I saw the original version of what was a live television show with Julie Andrews in 1958 and the subsequent television adaptations. I appeared in a local production as the Fairy Godmother. The performers in this production are charming and musically gifted. I especially enjoyed the Stepsisters and of course, Dee Hoty as the brutally honest and comically despicable Stepmother. Cinderella and the Prince were wistfully appealing and sang the show's most endearing songs beautifully. The sets were inventive and the costumes, particularly the moth to butterfly transformations by the glorious Fairy Godmother and her godchild were more than impressive. The problems with this production are the creations of those who rewrote the story and added second rate lyrics to what was a lyrical and memorable score. The rewrites involving the Stepsisters works well because of the skilled performances of these comic siblings. Unfortunately the character of Jean-Michel is a screeching, tiresome bore. Gabrielle should think about staying single. The attempt to transform this little fairy tale into a morality play results in a clumsy and thoroughly annoying parable. I have no objections to tweaking any story if it enhances that tale. There have been numerous film adaptations which have altered this story in a satisfying or even, wryly comic way. This adaptation lacks the wit or charm which would justify the changes in the script. This having been said, the Papermill production takes the material at hand and manages to rise above the limitations of this adaptation. The audience on Saturday night was obviously enchanted by Cinderella and her fella.
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