Cinderella brings the magic to Broadway

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Glass slippers are so back.  And the princess herself is bringing a whole new deal to the table.

There are several key elements to a blockbuster Broadway hit (think along the lines of fan favorites such as The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked or The Lion King): a notable history, a stellar cast, a certain magical quality to the production, and a story line to appeal to the audiences.  Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (now playing at the Broadway Theatre) encompasses it all.

As the quintessential childhood fairy tale, countless girls and boys have been enchanted by the story of a young girl’s journey to her happily ever after.  Whether from its Grimms Brothers’ fairy tale, the Disney animated film, the 1957 live-action musical featuring Julie Andrews in the title role, or any other of the countless adaptations in between, Cinderella is a timeless tale known worldwide.  However, this adaptation of Cinderella written by the dynamic theatre duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein has waited to 2013 to finally grace the Broadway stage.

Led by two time Tony-nominated actress Laura Osnes and Tony-nominee Santino Fontana as Ella and Prince Topher, the cast sparkles and brings to life the characters with humor and charm.  Elaborate dance numbers in ballroom scenes performed while singing paired with a plethora of jokes about society that’ll make you thank your stars for history classes truly illustrate the vast depth of talent of the cast members.

It’s also no question that in order to perform a fairy tale, there has to be production elements to give the illusion of magic to the live audience without the help of CGI or animation.  This tremendous task has been tackled by the crew of the show, most notably in the wardrobe department.  Cinderella is known for her beautiful ball gown transformations courtesy of her fairy godmother.  It is mind blowing as Cinderella transforms from rags to to the brilliant gown created by Tony award winning designer William Ivey Long.  Just appreciating the grandeur and thought that has gone into the design of the production is worth the trip.

Partly to fatten up the production to an appropriate length of around two and a half hours and to modernize the book for the twenty-first century, Ella is left to her own devices.  There’s still the classic tunes from Rogers and Hammerstein, such as “Ten Minutes Ago” or “Impossible”, or the hilarious “Stepsister’s Lament”.  However, this Cinderella surely isn’t shy about letting the prince and the kingdom know of her commitment to helping the disenfranchised like herself.

As over half of the audience were little girls, dolled up as princesses themselves,  the tale is sending a poignant message to this critical future generation of young ladies.  Cinderella is able to take control of her life and fight what she believes is unfair within her kingdom while remaining true to herself.  She’s no longer the damsel in distress, waiting for her luck to change and Prince Topher to whisk her off into blissful oblivion.

This refreshing edit of the tale, although can be seen as purely wishful thinking and a misplaced martyrdom of a classic character, it was nice to see these little girls emerge from the theatre exclaiming over how they wanted to do good as Ella had done for her subjects. In this age where women and girls are still constantly belittled compared to their male counterparts and subjected to certain gender roles, Cinderella is a musical that’s looking to break barriers.  In addition, Prince Topher, with his kindness, good will, and humility, provides a fantastic role model for boys attending the show as well.

So if you find yourself in need of a touch of magic and the escape of a faraway land, do consider taking in Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Broadway Theatre this summer!

Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella plays eight times a week (Tuesdays through Sundays) at the Broadway Theatre at 1681 Broadway, between 52nd and 53rd Streets.  Visit for more details and a performance schedule.