Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella offers a fresh take on a beloved story
When you think of a knight in shining armour, it typically doesn’t mean an actual knight in sparkly armour—but that’s exactly what Prince Topher (Hayden Stanes) wore as he strutted on stage. Not long after his entrance, he began to fight a gigantic monster while simultaneously looking rather dashing.
Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the 2013 Tony award-winning Broadway musical, was at Place des Arts last week for a limited showing. Featuring a talented cast of singers and dancers, the magical show had a hopeful lightheartedness about it—while also featuring very real, self-reflective moments of social commentary.
The show recounted the fabled and beloved story of Cinderella (Tatyana Lubov)—a handmaid-turned-princess who wins the heart of the dashing prince with the help of her fairy godmother, a pumpkin carriage and a handful of white mice-turned-horses.
Although the plot focused on the prince’s search for his princess, Cinderella was so much more than just a love story about two characters destined to find each other. While keeping the classic essence and framework of the fairy tale, the Broadway musical brought a witty and comedic twist to it and delved into the characters’ hopes, dreams and fears.
Beneath the traditional romance lies the story of a lost prince who must rule his kingdom while keeping his parent’s legacy alive; of a bureaucrat trying to ensure the prince’s comfort and way of life at the expense of the citizens; of a mother who wants the best for her daughters; and of a hopelessly unromantic guy who just wants to take the girl of his dreams out on a date to serve soup at the soup kitchen.
Cinderella is hopeful, despite being used and abused by her stepmother and stepsisters. She is a young woman trying to find herself in a world that keeps putting her down, and she maintains an overt optimism and kind spirit despite her plight.
Prince Topher has just returned from university and wants to rule his kingdom as his parents did before him—in a just and fair manner. His associate makes it easy: hand over the signet ring and he’ll take care of the boring, dreary paperwork. The prince’s naïve trust for his advisor, Sebastian (Ryan M. Hunt), leads to political corruption—unbeknownst to the prince. After a lifetime of being molded by the people around him, he is eager to try and find himself.
The cast included a multitude of zany characters, including the passionate political activist Jean-Michel (Chris Woods) and Marie, a sometimes crazy and eclectic friend who ends up being Cinderella’s fairy godmother (Leslie Jackson). The characters’ witty dialogue and funny interactions all added to the comedic element of the show.
The strong cast, relatable characters and fantastic quips and dialogue were all brought together by the incredible set design. Without missing a beat, the stage transformed from a forest to a town square to the interior of a palace. These switches were so well executed that they were almost invisible—as if by magic.
Be sure to check out Place des Arts’ website for updates and information about other upcoming shows.