Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cinderella ***

(Please click on the title to see the full review.)
Rodgers and Hammerstein's  TV musical written for Julie Andrews in 1957 has been subjected to much  tinkering over the years. None of its many versions made it to Broadway until now. Douglas Carter Beane has substantially rewritten the book, with uneven results. The king and queen are gone and there are several new characters including a wicked prime minister and a revolutionary. In this version, Cinderella has a social conscience. Another twist is that it is not at the ball that she loses her glass slipper. One of the stepsisters is not mean and gets a love interest. The best argument for this production is that it provides employment for such stalwarts as Harriet Harris, Victoria Clark and Peter Bartlett. Laura Osnes has the loveliness and vocal talent for the title role. Santino Fontana is dark and handsome, although not tall. His abundant charm makes up for his unremarkable voice. The score is not  one of their best, but does include enjoyable numbers like "Ten Minutes Ago," "Stepsisters' Lament." "A Lovely Night" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful." Anna Louizos's scenic design is lavish. William Ivey Long's costumes are often garish. His unflattering high-necked jackets with tails for Fontana make him look short and squat. The fairy godmother has an unfortunate headpiece that looks like the antennae of an insect. Mark Brokaw's direction is assured. It adds up to a mildly pleasant evening, especially if you have a young daughter, niece or granddaughter in tow. Running time: two hours, 30 minutes including intermission.

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