“Cinderella,” the musical based on the 1957 television broadcast starring Julie Andrews, with music by the incomparable Rodgers & Hammerstein, has a fresh new face. It is now playing at Clowes Memorial Hall through Sunday, Nov. 20. I attended the national touring company production, presented by Broadway in Indianapolis. Wednesday.
Writer Douglas Carter Beane has maintained the story about the poor, pitiful chambermaid who is transformed into a ravishing princess but in this version Cinderella is no one’s victim. In fact she is a spunky feminist. And instead of the Prince rescuing her, she helps him discover who himself so he can come into is own, as she spreads her message about kindness, forgiveness and compassion.
Tatayana Lubov turned in a fine vocal and dramatic performance as the empowered young woman who, though abused by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters manages, to turn the other cheek and remain positive despite her desperate conditions. Lubov’s rendition of “In My Own Little Corner,” sung as her character dreams of going to the Prince’s ball, was a highlight of the show.
Hayden Stanes, who played Prince Topher, stood out. Tall in stature, Stanes height certainly made him noticeable but his strong performance as the naive and guileless price, sheltered from the world, made him more than believable. Stanes duet of “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful” with Lubov was simply divine.
The “Cinderella” script is replete with contemporary dialogue and snappy one-liners, making it idea for the comic talents of Sarah Primmer as Cinderella’s mean stepmother, and Mimi Robinson and Joanna Johnson who played, respectively, her stepsisters Gabrielle and Charlotte. All three actors excelled in their delivery and timing.
The show’s sets, props and lighting are all that one would expect in a fairy tale filled with magic and whimsy. As far as its lavish costumes, there are some quick changes, or shall I say, illusions, which will make you wonder “Now, how did they do that?”
What struck me during the intermission were the number of little girls in attendance, wearing Cinderella gowns and tiaras. It occurred to me that maybe this version of “Cinderella,” with its positive message for children, would leave these same little girls with more than simple fantasy, but also provide them with a liberated role model they could emulate in real life.
Tickets for “Cinderella” are now on sale and available at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Old National Centre ticket office, online at BroadwayinIndianapolis.com or by phone at 1-800-982-2787. Groups of ten or more can book now by calling 1 (317) 832-7460 x 103.