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Cinderella on Broadway (review) is a scrumptious mess March 24, 2013

Posted by ronannarbor in Broadway Musicals.
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Let me start by saying I love Rodgers and Hammerstein, pretty much their entire repertoire.  So when a new Broadway version of Cinderella was announced, with Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, and Victoria Clark, you know I had to be there.

Second, all the requisite songs are there, and they sound great. Everything looks terrific on a gorgeous set with delicious costumes. Cinderella’s transformation before the ball is theater magic and gets prolonged applause. The addition of a fox and raccoon that transform into carriage footmen is delightful, and yes that carriage and horses are beautiful.

But, some of what happens here is a total mess that I fully blame on Douglas Carter Beane’s horrendous script. Now granted, the original did need to be fleshed out a bit, but this social-conscious infused nonsense was not it. It all flies by breezily enough, but I can venture a bet that not one of the audience members went there to see a subplot about improving the living conditions of the villagers. Beane even recycles word-for-word a 30Rock joke (“My mother isn’t always evil, sometimes she’s asleep”)

Santino Fontana, at first an unconventional choice for the Prince, turns in a super performance and by evenings end is indeed the charming prince Cinderella falls in love with. Laura Osnes is perfectly cast as Cinderella herself. Their scenes together are delightful.

Victoria Clark has a thankless role as beggar woman/fairy Godmother and gets to sport the evenings ugliest evening gown and headwear. She also gets to spout awesome lines like “fiddle deedle dumble, fidgety diddly dee”. There is far far too much of the evil stepmother Harriet Harris, and some characters should have been cut altogether — wait, what am I saying, they should never have been added to begin with.

The score is augmented by several Rodgers and Hammerstein trunk songs (including one cut from South Pacific!) but they fit well and sound great.

So, overall, this is a gorgeous production that will leave you both satisfied and also disappointed. The kiddies aren’t going to notice anything out of the ordinary. Adults will recognize its easily 20 minutes too long. Musical Theater lovers will recognize its easily 45 minutes too long…and Douglas Carter Beane is to blame for all 45 of those minutes.

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