Review: CINDERELLA Charmed at Sierra Rep

2024 is Ringing in an Exciting New Season at Sierra Rep

By: Jan. 02, 2024
Review: CINDERELLA Charmed at Sierra Rep

While the curtain has closed on Sierra Repertory Theatre’s holiday production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the quality of another successful SRT show. As most probably know, Cinderella was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made specifically for television. Its 1957 debut featured Julie Andrews, the quintessential Rodgers and Hammerstein leading lady. It spurred multiple spinoffs, including the 2013 Broadway adaptation with a revised book by Douglas Carter Beane. New and improved, this isn’t your grandmother’s Cinderella. Its comedy and messages are a delight for an entirely new generation.

 While there is still enough of the fairy tale Cinderella to make little princesses happy, this is more a story of perseverance, grace, and forgiveness. (Cinder) Ella is still sweeping her stepmother’s chimney and pining for a chance to meet the handsome prince, Topher. She is also an accidental advocate for the homeless, one of whom happens to be crazy Marie, her fairy godmother. In addition, she takes on local social justice causes to help her revolutionary friend, Jean Michel, while playing matchmaker for him and her not-so-evil stepsister, Gabrielle. In a plot twist, Ella doesn’t leave her glass slipper for the prince to find the first time around, making him work a little bit harder to find her. She is a modern woman in the making, after all.

The cast of this Cinderella was memorably talented and charming. Camryn Elias was a lovely and engaging Ella. Her sweetness was even more pronounced next to Brenda O’Brien’s brilliant nastiness as Madame, her stepmother. Jodi Vaccaro and Jackie Thompson were stepsisters Gabrielle and Charlotte, respectively, and altogether thrilling for their energy and humor. Prince Topher was played by Miguel Ragel Wilson, an impeccable vocalist and immensely likeable with his guy-next-door persona. Christopher Michael, who was recently interviewed for BroadwayWorld, played Jean Michel with endearing earnestness and impressive tumbling abilities. One of my favorite performances came from court crier, Lord Pinkleton. Mateo Deangelo’s physical comedy was unmatched, and I’ve never seen anyone who could make ringing a bell so side-splittingly funny.

This spectacular production bodes well for the upcoming 2024 season, as I’m looking forward to seeing what other gems SRT will produce. Under Jerry Lee’s visionary direction, SRT has exciting titles on the horizon, including Hair and cult classic Little Shop of Horrors. Single tickets go on sale January 2, 2024. For more information, visit www.sierrarep.org.

Photo credit: Jonnie Painter




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