Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Every Girl a Princess at "Cinderella"
"Cinderella" To Enchant Miami and West Palm Beach
By Skip Sheffield
You are not likely to find a more gorgeous stage musical than “Cinderella,” playing through Nov. 2 at the Arsht Center in Miami. The production will travel to Kravis Center in West Palm Beach Nov. 11-16.
This is the first national touring production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical that first saw light as a 1957 television special, starring a young Julie Andrews. It was at the time the most-watched television show in history.
R&H re-teamed for a stage musical in 1965 starring Leslie Ann Warren. A 1997 revival starred Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother.
Most of us remember "Cinderella" from the 1950 Walt Disney animated version. The stage version of the story is much simpler, based on a European folk story hundreds of years old and popularized in English by the Brothers Grimm as one of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" in the 19th century.
The national tour boasts fabulous costumes and nifty stage effects, which include a harness that enables Marie (Kecia Lewis) the Fairy Godmother to levitage and soar above the Arsht Center stage. This is not one of R&H's best scores, but the band is live and very good.
Kecia Lewis is one of several delights as one of the sauciest Godmothers you will ever see.
Soprano Paige Faure is so tiny, doll-like and slim she embodies the fairy-like spirit named Ella, called Cinderella by her cruel stepmother named Madame (Beth Glover) and her selfish stepsisters Charlotte (Aymee Garcia) and Gabrielle (Ashley Park).
Prince Charming in this edition is called Topher (Andy Jones), short for Christopher. Jones is a handsome, fine tenor befitting his character.
The manipulative Sebastion, the Prince's chief advisor, is played with gusto and humor by Blake Hammond. The good guy who fights for villagers' rights is Jean-Michel, played by David Andino. One of the best voices in the cast belongs to Antoine L. Smith as Lord Pinkerton, who serves as a kind of herald.
One of the most amazing things about the show is Cinderella's incredibly fast costume changes before our very eyes. One minute she is Ella the cinder girl and the next her dress and even her hair are changed for the enchanting girl who will instantly win the Prince's heart.
If you have young daughters, bring them to "Cinderella." They will feel enchanted too.
For ticket information call the Arsht Center at 305-949-6722 or TicketMaster at 800-745-3000. For Kravis Center call 800-572-8471 or go to www.kravis.org.