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BWW Review: CINDERELLA is A Lovely Night at Heinz Hall

BWW Review: CINDERELLA is A Lovely Night at Heinz Hall

Missed your invitation to Harry and Meghan's royal wedding? Fear naught, because as part of PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh, the story of Cinderella is as enchanting and regal as any British love story.

Cinderella, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the 1950s revamped for the Broadway stage a few years ago, is not the stereotypical story of the princess.

Most people know the story of Cinderella as a coming-of-age tale about a girl, plagued with an evil stepmother but blessed with a fairy godmother, dressed to the nines in a white dress and glass slippers, who meets and falls in love with a prince at his ball.

The musical version differs from that of Disney animations, though both were based off the French fairy tale; both follow a similar path from at the start and finish, but the musical version takes liberties and multiple detours along the way.

The musical adaptation does what Disney could not, empowering Cinderella to be a relatable and modern gal set in a timeless tale. She is a princess fit for the twenty-first century with revolutionary friends and ideals. And the glass slipper? Yes, Cinderella controls some unexpected twists with that as well.

Cinderella on stage is a visual escape into a magical world. The sets are fantasy, the costumes are effervescent, and the choreography is enchanting. The wooded provincial lands of Cinderella's house come with their own woodland creatures to keep the poor girl company since her evil stepmother has no use for her in her own little corner.

The young girl's kindness and compassion bring forth her fairy godmother; Marie (Leslie Jackson) transforms before the audience from a crazy beggar woman to a stunning, mystical enchantress. She tells Cinderella (Victoria Newhuis) that going to the Prince's ball is possible and helps her on her way. Like magic, woodland creatures become coach drivers, a pumpkin turns into a carriage, and Cinderella's rags transform into a beautiful white gown.

Over a half dozen other colorful poofy dresses fill the stage at the ball. These colors twirl across the stage as dancers move effortlessly around each other with ballet-level grace and sophistication. It is captivating and entrancing, surely something to keep all members of the audience entertained - including the dozens of little girls in attendance in their fanciest dresses and gowns. Cinderella might have won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Costume Design, but I think the little ones' fashion could have given them a run for their money!

At midnight, Cinderella is forced to flee the castle, as the magic of the night is about to vanish. She leaves it up to Prince Topher (Louis Griffin) to seek her out. With a voice like Mr. Griffin's, it's a little surprising that it took Cinderella so long to make her way back to him.

Madame (Sarah Smith) is the perfect combination of poised and snarky that is needed for the evil stepmother role. She can turn her displeasure for Cinderella into complete adoration for her other two daughters in the blink of an eye. Speaking of, Gabrielle (Nicole Zelka) and Charlotte (Joanna Johnson), Cinderella's stepsisters, are two peas in a pod. They have crafted their characters to be the outstanding hilarious duo in the forest of comedic one-liners.

The musical contains such familiar tunes as "Impossible," "Ten Minutes Ago," and "In My Own Little Corner." All are classics of R+H, but none can describe the show in as few words as Cinderella does in a second act song: "A lovely night / A finer night you know you'll never see."

To see or not to see score: 7/9; Recommended Show

Photo by: Carol Rosegg

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