Cinderella – Broadway Across Canada
Until April 16th
Sheer delight – this is a polished and sparkling production.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was created as a television special for Julie Andrews back in 1957. It was a huge hit with over 100 million viewers. It was re-done in 1964 with Leslie Ann Warren and then again in 1997 with Brandy.
Although various stage versions were created from it the one that is done most often now is the 2013 re-write by Douglas Carter Beane. A new character named Jean-Michel is added and he is social activist. He is in love with one of the step-sisters (Gabrielle) and he opens both ladies eyes to injustices in the kingdom.
This Cinderella isn’t all about balls and princes. The theme of transformation is carried into the whole setting.
The re-write also has some cheeky fun with the glass slipper that had the audience buzzing, ‘that didn’t happen in the Disney film’.
The touring cast is stunning. Tatyana Lubov is Ella and she has the right amount of spunk and earnestness to lift the character from just being passive princess. Hayden Stanes is simply hilarious as the loveable but thick Prince Topher. Mimi Robinson plays the older sister Gabrielle with gusto by and Joanna Johnson as Charlotte is coarse and funny. She brings down the house with the whiney lament Why Would a Fella Like A Girl Like Her?
The costumes by William Ivey Long create on-stage magic in how 3 different gowns transform. Both young and old talked excitedly at intermission – “Where did that tiara come from?” “How did they do that?”
The show has kitschy polish as all the woman in a rainbow of gowns swirl around the ballroom. It’s old fashion fun but with the some modern attitudes and some wicked jokes sprinkled in.
The best part for me though was the little girl sitting two seats over from me. She often applauded alone because the dresses or the songs didn’t impress her, she was responding when Cinderella opened the Princes eyes to injustice and he declared that he would make changes to help out the poor immediately. Her rapturous applause at several of these moments filled me with hope and joy. I wanted to believe that what we were watching was not just a magical delightful fantasy.
David C. Jones