BWW Review: ELLA ENCHANTED THE MUSICAL at Dallas Children's Theater
Ella of Frell is turning the traditional Cinderella story upside down at Dallas Children's Theater! At birth, she was given the "gift" of obedience which forces her to do anything people command: whether that's hopping on one foot all day or telling her best friend to just go away! As a teenager, strong-willed Ella chooses to reject this lifestyle as her fate and embarks on a quest to break the curse forever. Along the way, feisty Ella must outwit her evil stepsisters, escape hungry ogres, and save the prince before she can claim her real voice. In this fun and spirited musical extravaganza that stays true to the Newbery Honor book, children will discover the power of words while laughing, singing, and dancing out loud.
Young audiences fell in love with Ella of Frell this weekend at Dallas Children's Theater. ELLA ENCHANTED THE MUSICAL was fun, whimsical and had wonderful life lessons embedded into the show. Upon entering the theater audience members are transported into a magical forest while onlooking a whimsical cottage.
Like most audience members I expected a theatrical version of the hit Anne Hathaway film, Ella Enchanted. Fortunately this musical version of ELLA ENCHANTED THE MUSICAL by Karen Zacarias is even sweeter than the film. Every song incorporated important lessons about standing up for yourself, being a good friend and being true to yourself. Parents can rest easy knowing that Ella's adventure will guide children to becoming the best versions of themselves.
Ella, played by Erika Larsen, did a wonderful job of showing Ella's struggles of being permanently obedient. Larsen's Ella was thoughtful and creative as she discovered new ways to be her best self. Ella's Mother played by Jessica D. Turner was affectionate and cautious and then surprisingly wicked and ruthless as Dame Olga! Turner truly had me believing she was two different people! Ella's Father, Sir Peter, played by Brian Hathaway was oblivious and determined. Hathaway was one of the most versatile actors on that stage. Rounding out the rest of the cast was the glittering Lucinda played by Tiffany Solano DeSena who was lovely and chipper. Lucinda constantly going on about her love of weddings tickled me! The step-sisters Hattie and Olive played by Alyssa Cavazos and Gena Loe were Ying and Yang. Cavazos and Loe perfectly balanced each other and Larsen. Prince Charmond was sweet, gentle and kind. Charmingly played and executed by Clint Gilbert. This small ensemble cast packed quite the punch as they each maneuvered in and out of scenes as multiple characters. It was quite impressive to see such cohesiveness amongst the cast of seven.
Out of the entire ensemble I'd say Gena Loe's performance as Olive was definitely a fan favorite. From the sister's first entrance Loe had the audience giggling with glee at Olive's dim-wittedness and kindness. Any time she walked onstage she had the audience completely engaged and smiling.
Overall ELLA ENCHANTED was a hit amongst Dallas families. Head on over to Dallas Children's Theater at Rosewood Center 5938 Skillman, Dallas, TX 75231 to catch future performances of ELLA ENCHANTED: THE MUSICAL! Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Performances continue until February 24th with varying showtimes. A Sensory-Friendly Performance will be on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 1:30 pm. Run time for the show is an 90 minutes with a brief intermission.
$17-$30 for single tickets. Prices subject to change. Group rates availablefor parties of 10 or more. Phone reservations required for Sensory-Friendly performances. Call the Box Office for details, 214-740-0051. General tickets are available online at dct.org. Weekday Student Matinee shows also available Tuesdays through Fridays. Call Dallas Children's Theater at 214-978-0120 orvisitdct.org/fieldtrips