by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
Musicals are named as such because of, well, the music. Everything else takes a back seat. But in Cinderella On Broadway, the ingenious music is supported by a story, acting, costumes and set design that prove to be more than worthy of being there and are, in fact, an integral part of the phenomenal success of the show. I recently saw the show on Broadway. Here’s what I thought:
The plot starts out as pretty similar to the Grimm Brothers story: Cinderella lives with her stepmother and two sisters and gets to go to the Prince’s ball thanks to her fairy Godmother. At the ball she tells the prince about things that are going on behind his back and when her shoe falls at the bottom of the stairs, surprisingly she grabs it and rushes home. Yup, this Cinderella is a go-getter, unlike her outdated counterpart from the Grimm Brothers tale who just sits and waits for things to happen. After Cinderella leaves the prince is determined to find her and after a wild chase he decides to have a banquet in hopes to see her there. Cinderella arrives but has some important issues she wants to get settled first, such as letting the prince know about the importance of holding elections for Prime Minister. At midnight the clock strikes and Cinderella has to leave. Of course, he finds her and all’s well that ends well.
Cinderella is played by Laura Osnes who is not only a gorgeous Cinderella, but also a very well-rounded performer. She sings impeccably but can also show emotions. When performing with the Prince at the ball she looked so in love with him, you could easily imagine them as a real couple. Osnes has won a Drama Desk Award for this role and undoubtedly deserves all accolades.
At the performance that I attended Prince Topher was played by Andy Jones, who is the understudy for Santino Fontana. Where was Fontana? If I had to guess he was probably busy promoting the movie Frozen, in which he plays Prince Hans. Andy Jones made his Broadway debut with Cinderella and slipped beautifully into the role, you’d think he’s been doing it for months. He gave a very solid, yet inspiring performance. As a singer, he has a nice lower range and a very nice higher range (he also showcases his beautiful falsetto in one of the songs). If at times he seemed a little “confused” it’s because he has to let Cinderella take a more active role as a confident, assured young lady who ends up being the rescuer, rather than being rescued by a prince.
You may remember the stepmother, Harriet Harris, as Bebe Glazer on Frasier (his agent), who had a very over-the-top personality on the show, so she’s perfect for the role of the stepmother. She had some of the best lines and easily stole the show.There are plenty of twists and turns in this version, which was written by Douglas Carter Beane. It has some elements of a parody, although it’s not a full-on parody. Many of the jokes are geared for older kids and adults and are very clever and witty. Young kids, however, will love the show just as much, as there are many elements that are geared specifically towards young kids, such as Cinderella’s adorable forest friends, who are cute fox and raccoon puppets.The scenery is also very appealing for kids; the set was incredible and very detailed – there’s even smoke coming out of the chimney at Cinderella’s house.
But the real showstopper is the music & lyrics by Rodgers & Hammerstein. The songs are catchy and performed impeccably by the cast. The really cool thing about watching a show on Broadway is that you really get what you pay for; the talent of the performers is immense – even the actor with the tiniest part sounds amazing.
One of the highlights of the show is the song “The Prince is Giving a Ball” with the villagers singing, dancing and some performing acrobatics. Visually and musically this was a perfect scene.The song Impossible/It’s Possible is a fantastic, super-catchy song and a part of a really cool scene where Cinderella’s pumpkin turns into a carriage and Cinderella’s rags turn into a dress. But how does it happen? Blink and you’ll miss it. I missed it not once but twice, since Cinderella changes into a gown on two different occasions. I really wish I had paid closer attention. The costume designer, by the way, is none other than William Ivey Long who won a Tony Award for the costume design in Cinderella (along with five more) and has done costume design for no less than 65 Broadway shows!
I also want to mention “Loneliness of Evening”, which is part duet. It was especially touching and almost moved me to tears.
I can go on and on about the songs and mention other huge crowd-pleasers like “In My Own Little Corner”, “Ten Minutes Ago” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” but I’d rather just recommend the CD instead. Because the songs are so catchy and fun, after listening to the CD of the cast recording once you find yourself singing some of the songs over and over all day, every day. You can buy the album here for $14.99 or download the songs on iTunes.
Visit CinderellaOnBroadway.com to learn more about the show and purchase tickets. If you’re not in the NYC area you may be able to catch Cinderella On Broadway during the national tour, scheduled for the 2014-2015 season.
Photos by Carol Rosegg
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets to the show and a copy of the CD.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for thirteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 6, 4 and 1) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.