“Cinderella” – ASU Gammage

This review aired on KBAQ March 12, 2015


Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

I love big, splashy old-fashioned musicals and the enchanting fairytale “Cinderella,” this week’s Broadway production at ASU Gammage, is a tunefully pleasant 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that was originally created for television until a successful Broadway revival last season gave the show new life on stage.

“Cinderella” is now on tour as it enchants audiences across America.  The opulent and stylish production includes elaborate costumes, lush settings that transform from locale to locale with the magical precision expected from contemporary Broadway musicals, as an outstanding cast create enchanting characterizations as composer Richard Rodgers tunes are sung with reverence and Oscar Hammerstein II’s fanciful lyrics are recited as if people really talked in this magically polite way.  On opening night there were many young children in the audience and “Cinderella” is a wonderful way to introduce the young to the joys of live theater.

Everybody knows “Cinderella’s” story.  She’s an enchantingly attractive young woman who is treated abominably by her evil stepmother and two goofy stepsisters.  Her fairy godmother helps Cinderella capture a Prince’s heart but Cinderella keeps disappearing at midnight when her transformation ends.  An errant shoe is left by Cinderella giving the Prince a person to find.  We all know the ending as things happen with style, flair, a splash of contemporary wit, and a big dash of remarkable make believe.  Oh, some of Douglas Carter Beane’s new book is a bit too much but it’s not a major distraction.

Couple the beautiful production with Mark Brokaw’s snappy staging, Josh Rhodes expansive choreography and some amazing stage magic and a fine cast make the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs like “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible,” “Ten Minutes Ago,” and “A Lovely Night” soar.

The cast includes Paige Faure’s bubbly title character, the manly Prince of Andy Jones, the evil Mom played opening night by understudy Paige Williams, the goofy stepsisters played with sparkling wickedness by Kaitlyn Davidson and Aymee Garcia, and a huge ensemble who handle a myriad of other roles with stylish gusto.

There is nothing wrong with occasionally slipping away from today’s harsh reality into a lovely dream like “Cinderella.”  The show plays through Sunday at ASU Gammage.  Take the kids.  They will be enchanted as will adults looking to escape reality for a few magical hours.  For tickets, call Ticketmaster box office at 800-982-2787 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: A