Here’s something you don’t know about me: I love Cinderella. I hate the current “Princess” trend sweeping the minds of young girls, but growing up I was, and still very much am, in love with Cinderella. Yes, in her ‘happily ever after’ she gets her man, becomes a princess and rides off into the sunset, all of which perpetuate unrealistic ideals of love, relationships, marriage, and reality in general. But here’s what’s great about Cindy – she remains optimistic even in the bleakest conditions. She perseveres when it seems as though hope is lost. She takes the high road when many lesser beings wouldn’t. All attributes I struggle with on a daily basis and since she was the first woman I saw master them; she’ll always be a warrior to me.
The sweetest darn Cinderella you’ll ever meet is currently on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. No really, she’s so shockingly kind she doesn’t seem to have the ability to be anything else. She’s cute and angelic and sings like a dream (Kaitlyn Davidson does seem to be absurdly talented), but she’s got zero edge. Cinderella’s heart should be in the right place, all the time – that’s what makes her so exemplary – but she also reserves the right to privately poke fun at those that ridicule her. The woman should be allowed coping mechanisms. This gal is just straight-up nice 24/7. So she’s a bit less interesting than my girlhood fav.
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA received a modernized book upon it’s Broadway revival and while Douglas Carter Beane took great care to ensure that the fairytale is relevant to our current world – and some aspects of it do elevate the old fashioned story – it seems like the modernizations were at the cost of some characters. The villainy of the Stepmother, Sisters and Sebastian (the Prince’s right-hand man) is only occasionally felt, and the Prince, well…he really needs to grow a pair. He can barely pull himself together so you’re left wondering what Cindy sees in him to begin with.
Moments of shock and awe are reserved for Cinderella’s transformations. The insta-quick changes that happen like lightening are bonafide magic tricks. Honestly. They’re incredible. Huge high-five to the costume designer for the feat and to Davidson for pulling them off each night. Yowsa!
I’m going to end by contradicting myself: none of the nuances I’m negative about mattered to any of the 10 year old girls in the audience. Each girl who was proudly dressed in her finest to see Cinderella, was entranced by all she saw. What she saw were gorgeous dresses, boisterous choreography and charming sets. And a happy story about good triumphing over (seudo) evil. Cinderella (the character), while a bit vanilla, can also be funny, and she exudes optimism and generosity; so if another girl sees this and becomes inspired by her as I was, than the show is a roaring success.
Photo: Eric Anthony Johnson, Kaitlyn Davidson and Chip Abbott from the Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA tour. Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg