Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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NY1 Theater Review: "Cinderella"

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Rodgers and Hammerstein's made-for-TV musical "Cinderella" broke viewing records when it debuted in 1957, and now, a new, reimagined take on the classic fairy tale has made its way to Broadway for the first time. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

Taking on a beloved fairy tale and a Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite all at once takes a lot of chutzpah. But to be fair, "Cinderella" straight today on Broadway at those ticket prices wouldn't fly very long. And so we have a "revisal", courtesy of Douglas Carter Beane's brand new book. And if it’s a little messy and over-plotted, this "Cinderella" still manages to cast a magical spell on kids and adults alike

Director Mark Brokaw hedged his bets with a sterling cast that seems to have stepped straight out of the storybook, and this bunch not only looks the part, they sing beautifully and uniformly nail Beane's edgy humor.

The real trick was somehow managing to retain the story's nostalgic allure while appealing to more modern sensibilities. It mostly works though Beane's subplots featuring a political revolutionary character, an unlikely romance and palace intrigue yield mixed results.

Efforts to humanize the characters start with an angst-ridden prince. Despite his heroics in an elaborate opening scene battling a woodland giant, he's still an insecure guy in search of himself. And that allows the socially conscious Cinderella to make her mark.

Laura Osnes is a flesh and blood heroine right out of the Disney mold. And here, that’s a supreme compliment. Lovely in every way, she gives us spunk in place of saccharine.

Santino Fontana is not your typical Prince Charming, but this wonderfully versatile actor is loaded with so many unique charms, he is instantly winning. Ann Harada as one of the stepsisters is an absolute hoot. And the great ladies Harriet Harris as the stepmother and Victoria Clark as the fairy godmother are simply divine.

Kudos to the technical team for some clever stage craft and effects, but Mark Brokaw mainly relies on good old-fashioned ingenuity to make the show sing. And in this off-the-wall kingdom, it seems everyone’s having a ball.

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