‘Cinderella’: Still in previews, first Broadway production of the classic fairy tale dazzles audiences

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana play Cinderella and Prince Topher.

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana play Cinderella and Prince Topher.

 

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella has undergone many changes in the fifty-odd years that it has existed, from Julia Andrews originating the role in the made-for-TV special in 1957, to the 1997 movie adaptation starring Whitney Houston and Brandy.

Now in 2013, R&H’s Cinderella has finally arrived on Broadway with a new and improved book, a wonderful cast, and the classic songs that have made this musical adaptation so beloved.

Any skepticism that I had concerning the musical disappeared the second the overture began; I was transported into the fairy tale world of Cinderella, and I could not help but grin from ear-to-ear throughout the whole show.

There are a lot of things I love about this production. First of all, the cast is absolutely stellar. With her beautiful voice and charisma, Laura Osnes is a perfect Ella (or, as her stepmother so un-lovingly calls her, Cinderella), and will surely inspire the legions of little girls who will see the show.  Santino Fontana plays a dorky, charming, and lovable Prince Topher. His lovely voice particularly shines in his duet with Osnes, “Ten Minutes Ago.”

Victoria Clark plays the fairy godmother with great humor and heart, and Ann Harada had the audience in stiches as Ella’s more outspoken stepsister. Harriet Harris also impresses as Ella’s stepmother.

The costumes are beautiful and bring even more life and color to an already vibrant show. The intricate set, consisting of moving trees and a starry night sky backdrop, is incredible and plays a major role in the show’s storytelling. And, of course, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s timeless score is the highlight of the entire show. This is a cast recording that I will definitely buy the day it is released.

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana. Photo credit: StageDoorDish.com.

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana. Photo credit: StageDoorDish.com.

 

Like any show in its early previews, Cinderella has some kinks that need to be fixed before its official opening on March 3. Two characters, Jean-Michel and Sebastian (played by Greg Hildreth and Peter Bartlett respectively), did not really work for me and – from what I could hear – most of the audience members around me. The character of Jean-Michel has a lot of potential because he adds a refreshing and relevant political plot line, but this gets tangled with his love for Ella’s likable stepsister, Gabrielle (Marla Mindelle). Hopefully, these characters and their stories will be worked out by opening night. And, according to Victoria Clark at the stage door, changes will be coming soon.

Overall, Cinderella is perfect for everyone, and it is one of the best family-friendly shows on Broadway. This fresh retelling of one of the most iconic fairy tales of all-time, with music by the best composing team in musical theatre history, is one worth seeing.

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