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Cinderella

Originally created by Rogers and Hammerstein as a TV star vehicle for Julie Andrews, the stage version of Cinderella—now running at Boulder's Dinner Theatre—is filled with opportunities for a soprano to shine, and Jenna Bainbridge does fine work, providing lovely, bright, uplifting counterpoint to her dastardly step-mother and step-sisters, Joy and Grace, as well as sparkling duets with Christopher, the prince.

Jenna Bainbridge as Cinderella
Jenna Bainbridge as Cinderella
Photo: Glenn Ross Photography
While the play generally follows the traditional storyline (particularly that of the French version, Cendrillon, by Charles Perrault), it carries a charming irreverence, especially from the Fairy Godmother (Alicia Dunfee), who matter-of-factly provides Cinderella with everything she needs to make a splash at the ball, while not going overboard on magical expenses, resulting in, of course, that famous midnight deadline. (Honestly, such austerity! You'd think the great wizards would be smart enough to prohibit private central banks from operating in their realm and charging them interest, but perhaps the forces of darkness are in power there as well.)

(Left to right) Shelly Cox-Robie as Her Stepmother, Bob Hoppe as Grace, and Matthew D. Peters as Joy
(Left to right) Shelly Cox-Robie as Her Stepmother,
Bob Hoppe as Grace, and Matthew D. Peters as Joy
Photo: Glenn Ross Photography
So, this is not your Disney version. Adding to the bite, director Alicia Dunfee casts Matthew D. Peters and Bob Hoppe as Joy and Grace, the totally self-absorbed and hapless step-sisters, who invite a comparison to Tweedledum and Tweedledee with a Jabberwocky twist. Finally, against type, for all her leading roles over the years, Shelly Cox Robie weighs in as the Stepmother, fully confirming that we have indeed entered a world where everything, save Cinderella and the Prince, are upside down and backward. If I'm a kid, I'm thinking, "Cinderella, you go girl!"

Jenna Bainbridge as Cinderella
Jenna Bainbridge as Cinderella
Photo: Glenn Ross Photography
Meanwhile, the Prince (Matthew Dailey) has his own issues, with his mother, Queen Constantina (Tracy Warren), who is trying to get him married and produce an heir at the tender age of 21, while his father, King Maximillian (Wayne Kennedy), tries to give advice without offending his wife. One wonders who is better off, the orphaned Cinderella or the Prince among royal dysfunctionals? The prince may not have a fairy godmother, but he does have Lionel (Seth Caikowski) a fine foil for the prince's frustrations.

The music of Rogers and Hammerstein under the direction of Neal Dunfee is grand, though we still pine for the less-tinny days of more instruments and less synthesizer. Linda Morkin's costumes, especially the over-the-top creations for the step family, are a hoot.

Boulder's Dinner Theatre's production of Cinderella runs through September 1st, 2012. Call 303-449-6000 for tickets.

Bob Bows

 

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