Saturday, April 13, 2013

'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella' Is Age Appropriate


point of fairytales is, as the old Disney tune has it, that “they can come true.” As a rule they don’t feature a self-reliant heroine or an overly introspective hero

However, this is the 21st century, and things have changed – at least with the “Cinderella” story.

Douglas Carter Beane has updated the book and added some songs, written with David Chase, to “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” The musical is making its Broadway debut in an open run at the Broadway Theatre. (See video clips above).

This Prince Topher (Santino Fontana) – short for Christopher and a string of amusing monikers – is a lovely young dragonslayer who wishes he “could do more with my life.” Once the Prince meets Cinderella (Laura Osnes) his resolve to do better grows. The two will rid the kingdom of corruption.

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana as a power couple in “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Photos by Carol Rosegg.

Of course, it is very likely that most know the other parts of the story. The evil stepmother, Madame (Harriet Harris) and her daughters, Gabrielle (Marla Mindelle) and Charlotte (Ann Harada); the fairy godmother, Marie (Victoria Clark), the pumpkin that becomes a coach and the mice that turn into snow-white horses. All are iconic parts of the Cinderella tale.

Rodgers + Hammerstein first created their version of the classic love story for a live television broadcast in 1957 with Julie Andrews in the lead. Most of the the songs are romantic and lyrical or funny and delightful. “Ten Minutes Ago” is simply a wonderful song, as is “The Stepsister’s Lament.”

Cinderella (Laura Osnes) has a sweet song in her heart despite her bitter reality.

Some of the additional material rises to the occasion as a fairytale for the times. The subplot of the “Occupy the Kingdom” character Jean-Michel (Greg Hildreth) is a well-wrought modernization.

Under the able direction of Mark Brokaw, all in the “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” cast acquit themselves admirably. LO is natural as Cinderella both in rags and rich gowns. SF is a dreamy prince. They and the entire ensemble make this bedtime story leap off the pages into real life.

Cinderella (Laura Osnes) gets a little TLC from her godmother (Victoria Clark).

The costumes by William Ivey Long are breathtaking and quick-change friendly. Anna Louizos’ sets have a picture-book quality.

“Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” is an opulent and elegantly done production that is beautiful and pleasantly told.

Visit to learn more about “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Rx

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