Photo: Tyler Eisenreich, Kaitlyn Mayse and Gage Martin in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. By Carol Rosegg
Fairy tales. We hear them often. We read them to our children. They were read to us as children. But very rarely do we get the opportunity to see them unfold before our eyes. The Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella you’ll see on stage at the Kimmel Center has a very empowering message for all. This isn’t your regular old fairy tale version and it’s a good one for all to experience.
This version was brought to the stage in 2013. As you know, Ella lives with her step mother and step sisters, cleaning up after them. She dreams of a better life. Prince Topher recently became heir of the kingdom after the death of his parents. He’s unsure of his new title and how he can be a great ruler. There’s also Jean-Michel, a loving revolutionary, and Crazy Marie who isn’t quite what she seems. These four characters bring new twists to a classic tale. Ella and Jean-Michel really root for the people of their village and help Prince Topher become the prince their town needs. What’s great about this show is the overall theme of kindness and forgiveness, giving everyone a chance to be seen and heard for who they are/what they believe in. People have each other’s backs (the positive relationship between Ella and one of her step-sisters is very sweet and refreshing). And everyone soon realizes the importance of community.
The most amazing element of Cinderella is the costumes and the incredibly impressive “blink of an eye” changes on stage. How does Ella go from rags to a ballgown without leaving the stage or hiding behind something? Hearing the people around me gasp and whisper “how did they do that?” made me grin. This is the magic of theatre. And this show is so magical. From the set design to the graceful dances to the beautiful words and lyrics.
Kaitlyn Mayse, in the role of Ella, is a perfect princess. She’s been with this production for a while and really embraces the character. Her face radiated joy at the curtain call, showing off her passion for the show. Everyone fits their parts so well.
Friday night’s performance was extra magical as fifty fifth-graders from the Kimmel Center’s new education initiative One Musical Philadelphia, performed a song from the show on the steps inside the Academy of Music. Unfortunately, we were late (I feel like I’m missing out on a good Cinderella pun here) and didn’t get to witness the performance. This is One Musical Philadelphia’s pilot year. The education initiative hosted students from 15 schools, giving them the opportunity to learn about musical theater, community and teamwork. During the 8-week program, they learned songs and dances from a student version of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Many thanks go out to the Kimmel Center for such an amazing program.
You have a few more hours until today’s afternoon performance of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Click this link, buy tickets for today’s 2pm show and read this later. It’s not impossible. Ella and her friends learn that nothing is impossible actually.
Hopefully this inspires you to take off your slippers (it’s too cold outside for them), get in your car (unless you really do have a carriage, in which case please bring it to the show), and head to Cinderella. You have four more chances to see this story come to life:
Saturday 2/23 at 2pm and 7:30pm
Sunday 2/24 at 1pm and 6:30pm
*An American Sign Language (ASL) and Audio Description (AD) will take place during the Sunday evening performance.
And if you have time, head to Volver (inside the Kimmel Center) for the “Glass Slipper” cocktail- lime, ginger beer and vodka. It’s a Moscow Mule really, but tastes so magical.