Director Jewels: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Kansas City Starlight Theatre {Review}

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Kansas City Starlight Theatre {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this event. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 

I was so excited to learn that Starlight Theatre in my Kansas City hometown would be featuring Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella as part of their summer season. I wanted so badly to see this production on Broadway in 2013, but that wasn't logistically possible at the time. I'm a big fan of Laura Osnes, who originated the role of Cinderella in the Broadway revival, and just from watching promo spots back then, I knew this was a show not to be missed. I was not wrong about that!


Paige Faure in the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Photo © Carol Rosegg.

It was raining at Starlight on Tuesday evening for opening night, but that didn't stop the air from being filled with great anticipation. Everywhere I looked, there were little girls sporting princess dresses and painted faces. Starlight is offering a pre-show family event, the “Fairy Tale Festival.” The festival is open from 6:00 to 7:45 pm each night and includes activities like face painting, crafts, games, storytelling and more. If you have a pair of outgrown children's shoes taking up space in your house, make sure you bring them to donate to Operation Breakthrough as part of Starlight's "If the Shoe Doesn't Fit, Bring It!" charitable program.

The Cast of the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

Cinderella dazzles the audience from start to finish, from the ornate set design to the more than three hundred beautiful costumes (more on those later) to the breathtaking choreography. There are so many positive things I could say about this show that I think it would be easier for you to just watch it yourself and be astounded right along with me. A truly family-friendly spectacle, with nothing offensive for parents to worry about, this show was the highlight of the season for me, so far.

From Ella's In My Own Little Corner to Impossible/It's Possible to Ten Minutes Ago, we're captivated by Ella (played on tour by Paige Faure) and her desire to see her greatest wishes granted, while maintaining her character of kindness. You can't help but root for a character who displays a heart as pure as gold. Faure brings Ella to life with sweetness and charm, and I'm guessing every little girl in the audience went home dreaming of starring in that role someday.

Beth Glover, Kaitlyn Davidson, Aymee Garcia & Paige Faure in the National Tour of
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

The supporting cast is strong and brings joy and laughter to the audience over and over again. Madame (played by Beth Glover), Gabrielle (Kaitlyn Davidson), and especially Charlotte (Aymee Garcia) stole the show with their lovely over-the-top character representations of Cinderella's infamous stepmother and stepsisters. The characters themselves have been redefined for the production, and it's nice to see some development in them, rather than just watching three ladies be "evil" throughout. A Lovely Night was hilarious and well-acted by these ladies and Ella.

Kecia Lewis & Paige Faure in the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Photo © Carol Rosegg.

Marie (the Fairy Godmother, portrayed by Kecia Lewis) stole the show at moments for sure. She has more than one magical transformation. It's always a delight to see young audience members light up at a bit of stage magic, but this show successfully caused more than just the little girls in princess dresses think that the impossible was indeed coming true right before their eyes.

Speaking of impossible, I have to throw it out there that I was one hundred percent blown away by the onstage costume transformations. I've never seen anything like it in my life. Go see this show for that, if for nothing else! I'm a director/actress/costume designer (not for Broadway by any means), but I was flabbergasted and have spent quite a few hours since seeing the show trying to figure out the costume design. Kudos to costume designer William Ivey Long for creating "impossible" magic to take this show above and beyond magical.

Adrian Arrieta, Paige Faure & Blakely Slaybaugh in the National Tour
of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

If you need a night of magic and adventure, this show is at the top of my recommendation list this summer. Don't miss the tour stop here in Kansas City!

Andy Huntington Jones & Paige Faure in the National Tour of
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.
Tickets for Cinderella at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. Tickets are available online at Starlight Theatre, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m. You can follow the Cinderella Tour on Twitter and Facebook - and make sure you check out the Cinderella YouTube channel for sneak peek videos!

Thanks to Starlight Theatre for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

6 comments:

  1. We as well as the little girls around us were somewhat disappointed in Cinderella. To us the story line was butchered, and it was difficult to follow--especially when you're expecting the real thing. Costumes were beautiful but not what we went to see! Next time I'll ask, even on a classic, if it's the original script!

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    1. Were you hoping for the Disney story/songs? I should have mentioned in my review that this is definitely something different from Disney! Sorry you guys were bummed. :(

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    2. Yeah, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella musical was never like the Disney version - even without the updates. Idk where you'd have to go if you want a Disney version with the songs from the cartoon. Disney land/world, I guess?

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    3. I know at Disney they have live versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, but I haven't heard of any of the older classics being staged that way. I wish they would add that - it would be great!

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  2. This show was fantastic! I am not a fan of the Disney movie, and I was very pleased with the updates to this show considering I was familiar with it from years ago and didn't consider the script anything exciting.
    I wish I could see it again!!

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