By Daniel Skora
Cinderella rides into Detroit on her golden carriage for a quick one week visit to the Fisher Theatre in a lavish, highly entertaining production that both children and adults will find enjoyable. But when that final March 18th production comes to an end, the beautiful golden carriage will return to being a pumpkin and the accompanying royal footmen will once again find themselves scurrying about the forest floor as little furry creatures.
This “Cinderella” has its musical roots in the Rodgers and Hammerstein creation that was originally made for television and broadcast in 1957 with Julie Andrews in the title role. It wasn’t until 2013 that “Cinderella” became a Broadway show, receiving nine Tony Award nominations and winning in the Best Costumes category.
The current production gets high marks on every theatrical discipline. The storyline contains most of the elements of the traditional Cinderella tale, but with a few tweaks and additions that give it a contemporary relevance. The sets are colorful and otherwise apropos for a fairyland environment (design by Anna Louizos). The costumes, notably the ones for the prince’s court, are gorgeous (design by William Ivey Long). The vibrant score compliments the story and serves well the musical’s several exciting and creative ensemble production numbers, which include the “The Prince is Giving a Ball” as mentioned in the title of this review. Musical director and conductor for the show is Melissa Yanchak, who, you can plainly see if you’re seated close enough to the stage, adds her own enthusiasm and charm to the show by mouthing the words to the songs she’s conducting the music for and generally giving the impression that being a part of this production is more than just a job).
The show boasts a talented and enthused cast, with Tatyana Lubov as Cinderella and Louis Griffin as Prince Topher in the leads. Leslie Jackson plays Crazy Marie who becomes Ella’s Fairy Godmother. Sarah Smith fills the role of Cinderella’s stepmother Madame, with Joanna Johnson and Nicole Zelka portraying Charlotte and Gabrielle, Cinderella’s stepsisters. Others in supporting roles include Christopher Swan as the Prince’s advisor Sebastian, Corbin Williams as Jen-Michael, an activist, (yes, he represents the motivating factor of the show’s new-found social relevance), and Vincent B. Davis as Lord Pinkleton, Sebastian’s assistant.
As can be expected, there were plenty of young princesses in the audience opening night. But if you don’t currently have one such youngster in your life, see the show anyway. It’s a warm and wonderful musical experience that can be enjoyed by all.
Music for “Cinderella” is by Richard Rodgers with lyrics and book by Oscar Hammerstein II. New book, which is what they call this reworked storyline of a classic fairy tale, is by Douglas Carter Beane. The show runs through March 18th. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1.800.982.2787, online at www.BroadwayinDetroit.com or www.Ticketmaster.com, or in person at the Fisher Theatre box office located in the lobby of the Fisher Theatre, 3011 West Grand Blvd.