BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's CINDERELLA is a Lush Fantasy
Rodgers and Hammerstein's CINDERELLA on Hale Centre Theatre's Centre Stage is a lush fantasy come to life.
CINDERELLA (music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics and original book by Oscar Hammerstein II, new book by Douglas Carter Beane) is the first Broadway outing for the beloved musical that started its life as a live television broadcast in 1957.
Originally starring Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana in 2013, the show contains all the elements you would expect from the familiar rags-to-riches fairy tale. When a girl who spends her life working for her ungrateful stepmother wishes to attend the Prince's ball, a fairy godmother appears to grant her wish, but with a warning that she must return by the stroke of midnight.
Hints of many different versions of the Cinderella story are alluded to in this effort to flesh out the characters and their motivations, and this version ultimately succeeds in its attempt to be a satisfying modern rendition of the tale.
Amy Keeler as Ella (double cast with Shae Robins) is a pillar of kindness and sweetness with a lovely singing voice, and Derek Smith as Topher (double cast with Preston Taylor) brings powerful vocals and a bumbling charm to the character.
Mack sparkles literally and figuratively as Marie (double cast with Michelle Blake), and she commands the stage whenever she's on it.
Cinderella's stepfamily is a hoot as played by the brilliant Eden Benson as Madame (double cast with Elizabeth Summerhays), Kelly Coombs as Gabrielle (double cast with Rachel Bigler), and Ali Bennett as Charlotte (double cast with Kristi Curtis).
The direction and choreography by Dave Tinney are top notch, with stage pictures and transitions that are well-defined and lovely to look at and that flow effortlessly.
The lavish set by Kacey Udy is absolutely beautiful and fills the space well. Every piece is well thought out and crafted with care, wonderfully complementing Tinney's direction.
The lighting by Brian Healy and Michael Gray is truly magical, and the projections by Bobby Gibson are tasteful and harmonious with the rest of the design without standing out unnecessarily.
The costumes by MaryAnn Hill range from intentionally gaudy to gloriously refined, always filling the stage with color and luster. Removed from reality with a storybook quality, the design goes one step further with the blink-and-you-miss-them costume changes that enchantingly transform Cinderella's rags into gowns. And what more could you want from a fairy tale than a bit of real magic?
CINDERELLA plays through September 7, 2019. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Mack (Marie) and Amy Keeler (Ella)