- Cinderella-2013 Tony Award Nominee for Best Actor in a Muscial~Santino Fontana – Best Actor in A Musical (Nominee)
- Cinderella-2013 Tony Award Nominee for Best Actress in a Musical~Laura Osnes – Best Actress in a Musical (Nominee)
- Cinderella - 2013 Tony Award Nominee for Best Book of a Musical – Best Book of A Musical (Nominee)
- Cinderella - 2013 Tony Award Winner for Best Costume Design of a Musical – Best Costume Design of a Musical (Winner)
- 2013 Tony Award® – Best Revival of a Musical (Nominee)
- 2013 Drama Desk Award – Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Winner)
The smart and beautiful young Ella lives in the care of her wicked, self-absorbed stepmother Madame and Madame’s two daughters, Charlotte and Gabrielle. Ella’s only friends in the world are the animals in the woods, ” crazy Marie” and the revolutionary student Jean-Michel. Meanwhile in another part of the kingdom, Prince Topher is trying to find himself and learn his place in the kingdom. When his scheming advisor Sebastian suggests throwing a ball so the Prince could meet potential brides, Ella and Topher’s different worlds come together. Expect the unexpected in this clever retelling of the beloved fairytale.
Broadway’s first staging of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella offers audiences the best of both worlds: The magic and romance of the classic fairytale is brought to life within a contemporary script featuring several new subplots (a young Prince trying to find himself, a revolution brewing in the kingdom, a stepsister’s romance, and more).
The two-act musical features fantastic performances and plenty of laughs for both adults and children. Audiences can expect to see instantaneous costume changes, a flying fairy godmother and beloved favorite songs including ” In My Own Little Corner,” ” A Lovely Night,” ” Impossible,” ” Ten Minutes Ago” and ” Stepsister’s Lament.”
Press / Reviews
October 27, 2017
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the 2013 Tony® Award-winning Broadway musical from the creators of The King & I and The Sound of Music, will play the McCallum Theatre for a limited engagement of seven performances from Friday, November 24, through Tuesday, November 28. With its fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this hilarious and romantic Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderellacombines the story’s classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. Read more…
Mar 3, 2013
Given Hollywood’s determination of late to homogenize the entire classic fairy-tale canon into one long, dour CGI battle saga, it’s a relief to see a show that softens its revisionist impulses within a warm embrace of sugar-frosted tradition. Reworked for Broadway from its bones as an original 1957 television musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella gets off to a halting start and takes some questionable detours. But this pleasurable confection overcomes its conceptual missteps with old-fashioned stagecraft, enchanting design elements, smooth direction and choreography, and most of all, winning contributions from an ideally cast ensemble.
A robust performer in previews, the production has been logging repeat weekly grosses north of $1 million. Those pre-opening figures are relatively uncommon for a show without major stars, indicating that there’s room in the Broadway marketplace for another family-friendly musical. It’s likely to be especially popular with mothers and daughters eager to reconnect with their inner princesses.
Originally commissioned by CBS as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, Cinderella marks the only musical written for television by the legendary team of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/book writer Oscar Hammerstein II. A staggering 107 million viewers watched the 1957 broadcast premiere in the U.S. alone. TV remakes in 1965 (headlining Lesley Ann Warren) and 1997 (starring Brandy and Whitney Houston) were also successful. The show has been retooled for the stage various times, including a London pantomime version and a New York City Opera incarnation. But this marks its first Broadway presentation.
The principal architect of this latest overhaul is Douglas Carter Beane, whose book is paradoxically its shakiest element. Beane’s track record (Xanadu, Lysistrata Jones, Sister Act) made it legitimate to expect something with a satirical edge. The sprinkling of contemporary anachronisms in the dialogue supplies some fresh sass and snark without pushing too hard in a treatment that’s surprisingly traditional on most fronts. But the addition of a half-baked “Democracy for Dummies” subplot grafted onto Cinderella’s world is labored, merely slowing down the story. Thankfully, the classic Charles Perrault tale proves indestructible enough to withstand the meddling.
The quintessential element that the production gets resoundingly right is the chemistry between downtrodden Cinderella (Laura Osnes) and her lovestruck Prince (Santino Fontana), who goes by the shortened form of his unwieldy royal moniker, Topher. But perhaps equally important is the romantic power of the music. Few will rank the songs as top-drawer R&H – whether from the original television presentation or interpolated from other scores. But their buoyant melodiousness in Danny Troob’s shimmering orchestrations is transporting.
Cinderella’s signature number, “In My Own Little Corner,” immediately conveys the resilient sweetness of a girl treated like a slave by her archly scornful stepmother Madame (Harriet Harris). And when the Prince from his throne picks up the song’s refrain of “Just as long as I stay in my own little chair,” it cleverly cements their kinship as dreamers confined by their station. Other musical highpoints include “Impossible,” sung by the Fairy Godmother (Victoria Clark), and the soaring lovers’ duet “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” performed with rapturous gusto by Osnes and Fontana. Without exception, this is a gorgeously sung production.
That makes it easy to forgive the show’s flaws. Beane’s prologue and an early scene establishing Prince Topher as a slayer of monsters, dragons and ogres serve to expand the magical factor beyond the Fairy Godmother’s handiwork. And Anna Louizos’ scenic design is lifted right out of a classic fairy-tale storybook, favoring woodsy settings over the standard cobblestoned kingdom.
As a reinvention strategy, all this is reasonably effective, even if it makes the lumpy early action recall the Shrek musical that played in this same theater a few years back. But Beane’s tinkering slows our access to the story’s heroine. It’s not until the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella, her coach, horses and coachmen for the royal ball – a bewitching sequence executed with refreshing low-tech resourcefulness by Louizos, costumer William Ivey Long and director Mark Brokaw – that the show fully engages with its central character.
The most intrusive intervention is the introduction of political unrest and an election, which panders to an adult audience rather than just letting the story carry us all back to cynicism-free childhood.
The Prince in this version is an orphan whose parents were benevolent rulers. Their kingdom was left in the hands of the scheming Lord Protector, Sebastian (Peter Bartlett), who has been robbing the poor of their lands while the Prince was off at university. Sebastian is counting on the royal heir to keep his head in the clouds. Representing the wronged populace is timid firebrand Jean-Michel (Greg Hildreth), who has caught the eye of Cinderella’s stepsister Gabrielle (Marla Mindelle). She rejects the venal plotting of her mother and dumpy, self-centered sister Charlotte (Ann Harada). But who ever thought Cinderella needed a do-gooder stepsister, especially with the hilarious Harada on hand to steal the scene whenever she’s onstage? (Charlotte’s song, “Stepsister’s Lament,” is a peach.)
Surprisingly, all this needless narrative cargo doesn’t matter in the long run because we are genetically programmed to root for Cinderella and the Prince to live happily ever after. And it’s hard to imagine those iconic figures being inhabited by two more charming, gifted musical-theater actors. Osnes is loveliness personified – the epitome of goodness without being a drip, and Fontana appealingly straddles the divide between gallantry and cluelessness. One of Beane’s sharpest nods to modern sensibilities is to have it be no accident that Cinderella leaves behind her glass slipper. Instead, she strategically removes it during her midnight dash, taking charge of her destiny rather than leaving it to chance.
Clark, who spends half her stagetime in rags as a crazy villager, is a delight as the Fairy Godmother – by turns mischievous, nurturing, nutty and blithely campy when she gets airborne mid-song. (But what’s with those antler-like growths emerging from her hair?) And Harris is in tart form as Cinderella’s morally unencumbered, social-climbing stepmother, “teetering precariously between upper-middle-class and lower-upper-class.”
Louizos’ playful sets deftly blend forest, village and palace, particularly when the impressive marble staircase is rolled out. Those scenic elements also provide a splendid backdrop for choreographer Josh Rhodes’ dance interludes, which add balletic flourishes to the central waltz scene to exquisitely romantic effect. And costumer Long gets to display his mad froufrou skills in some wonderfully over-the-top frocks, particularly for Madame and the stepsisters.
The feeling remains that, much like the glass slipper on all those wannabe princesses, the material is an imperfect fit for Beane’s snappy irreverence. But under the gently guiding hand of director Brokaw, this Cinderella makeover nonetheless has enough magic on tap to deliver crowd-pleasing family entertainment.
Mar 3, 2013
Watch out, “Wicked” witches, here comes “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” a heavyweight contender for those precious audiences of little girls who attend the theater in princess gowns and glittery tiaras – faithful theatergoers who make regular pilgrimages to their beloved shows and get their mothers to buy them lotsa stuff at intermission. Stage treatments of this classic 1957 made-for-TV musical starring Julie Andrews are common enough. But with additional songs and a witty new adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane, this show counts as a legit Broadway premiere.
Reassurances first: “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful,” “In My Own Little Corner,” and other beloved songs from the original show are here, in clarion-clear arrangements by David Chase and full-throated orchestrations by Danny Troob, and played by a great big old-fashioned pit orchestra directed by Andy Einhorn.
Neither have the creatives lost their minds and cut corners on the design elements that only Broadway can deliver in a big way. You want magic? Wait until you see Cinderella (here called Ella and played by Laura Osnes) being transformed for the ball. You want levitation? Hold your breath for the entrance of the fairy godmother (a crazy lady known as Marie and played by Victoria Clark).
Anna Louizos’s set for the palace ball at which Ella meets her Prince (played by Santino Fontana) is actually kind of classy, streamlined to accommodate choreographer Josh Rhodes’ twirling waltzes and galloping gavottes. The deep forest is a much more mysterious place, lighted in blue-black shadow by Kenneth Posner and pulsing with strange sounds by Nevin Steinberg.
If there’s a theme to William Ivey Long’s costumes, it’s “Let’s break the bank and go crazy.” From afar, the elaborate ball gowns are a mass of color in a swirl of movement. Apart from Ella’s drop-dead wedding gown and Marie’s out-of-this-world lavender number, there are no pallid pastels in this intense color palette. As with the many shades of magenta worn by wicked stepmother Madame and her daughters, these frocks have humor and bite. On closer view, all the costly details emerge: the gold-shot fabrics, the trimmed petticoats and deep cut-outs, the heavy beading and intricate embroidery – and above all, the side-hoop skirts, which function like pinatas.
Helmer Mark Brokaw, best known in New York for straight plays, but also the artistic director of the Yale Institute for Music Theater, has cast this show shrewdly, with actors who can sing, get laughs, and in one crucial case especially, even dance.
That triple threat is Osnes, the brave little trouper who made “Bonnie & Clyde” bearable. While her light soprano gives sweet voice to Ella, her acting chops and dancing skills make her as lovely to watch as she is to listen to.
As her Prince (here called Topher), Fontana may not be as dashing as the dragon slayer of fairy-tale legend, but he’s certainly cute and funny — and limber enough to sing and move and look charming at the same time, an impossible task for many a leading man.
The production’s touchstones are those thesps with outstanding voices, like the big-chested Phumzile Sojola as the loyal palace functionary, Lord Pinkleton. As Marie, Clark is the flying favorite of the house, an eccentric fairy godmother whose droll promises to make dreams come true are delivered in a soprano voice of piercing beauty.
The cheeky humor of Beane’s book comes from imposing modern sensibilities (and contemporary lingo) on timeless storybook figures. It’s great fun to watch Peter Bartlett vamp it up as Sebastian, the perfidious Lord Protector who chides the Prince for striving to make something nobler of his life. (“Worrying about that self-worth again?”)
In the same sarcastic vein, Harriet Harris is irresistibly funny as Madame, so determined that one of her plain daughters marry royalty and elevate the family social status. (“We are teetering precariously between upper-middle class and lower-upper class.”) But aside from constantly reminding Ella that she isn’t her “real” daughter, Madame isn’t much of a taskmaster.
Ella’s two stepsisters aren’t particularly unkind to her, either. In a hoot of a perf from Ann Harada (and a hilarious wig by Paul Huntley), the plain and pudgy Charlotte is too self-absorbed even to take much notice of her. And Gabrielle (Maria Mindelle, very nice) is such a kind soul that Beane gives her a made-up suitor, Jean-Paul (Greg Hildreth), a revolutionary firebrand who works socially correct themes into the plot. (He courts her by inviting her to dish out food at a soup kitchen.)
But all these clever alterations radically change the story we all grew with, the tale about how true love rescues a callously mistreated girl from persecution. Because the evil stepmother and stepsisters are no longer cruel or threatening, our fairytale Cinderella is no longer a despised outcast, the unhappy victim of her sad circumstances.
For that matter, Ella is no longer even the hero of her own fairytale. By introducing all those politically correct social issues, Beane has effectively shifted the focus of the story to the Prince, who has fallen down on the job of governing his kingdom. Key trunk songs added to the show (and given new lyrics by Beane and Chase) either build up Topher’s character (“Me, Who Am I?”) or define the challenges he faces in cleaning up the rampant political corruption in his court (“Now is the Time”).
Although Ella does make a brief appearance in the prologue set in the woods, the show really opens at the castle, with a new song for Topher. “I just don’t even know who I am yet,” he says, before launching into his existential cri de Coeur “Me, Who Am I?” As Topher’s prize for being a good prince, Cinderella has become a secondary character in a story about a guy who mans up and resolves his identity crisis.
Mar 3, 2013
When the sweet-voiced, wholesomely beautiful Laura Osnes last appeared on Broadway, she was packing heat, in more than one sense: As memorable outlaw Bonnie Parker in 2011’s musical adaptation of Bonnie and Clyde, the young leading lady was armed and tempestuous in a way that fans who had watched her blossom in a string of ingenue roles might never have expected.
The new production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella ( three 1/2 out of four) that opened Sunday at the Broadway Theatre finds Osnes less surprisingly cast, but just as beguiling. The musical, appearing on the Great White Way for the first time, began its life as a 1957 TV movie starring Julie Andrews — leaving the current star with a pretty big pair of glass slippers to fill.
But with guidance from director Mark Brokaw and librettist Douglas Carter Beane, Osnes and a gifted supporting cast make this fairy tale very much their own — a scrumptious trifle that, for all its hokey moments, will charm theatergoers of all ages.
Beane has revised the plot so that Cinderella is not merely a kind maiden in distress, but a curious young woman becoming aware of injustices beyond her own shabby treatment. As in Hammerstein’s original book, her wicked stepmother and stepsisters are funnier and less cartoonishly cruel than in the Disney version; but now one stepsister, Gabrielle, is being courted by a fledgling revolutionary named Jean-Michel, who sees the ruling regime as corrupt and oppressive.
We learn that peasants were treated fairly until the king and queen, who don’t appear in this incarnation, died, leaving young Prince Topher and the community at the mercy of the greedy, wily Lord Protector Sebastian. Though Topher is about to become king, he’s a little nervous, and clueless to Sebastian’s machinations; it will be Cinderella’s task to both open his eyes and boost his confidence.