Article from The Arizona Republic
Thanks to Dan for this information!

Latest 'Cinderella' sets definitive stage 

                        By Kenneth LaFave
                        The Arizona Republic
                        June 28, 2001 

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella has been repackaged off and 
on since its first appearance in 1957 as a television musical 
starring Julie Andrews. There were two TV remakes (1965 with 
Lesley Ann Warren, and 1997 with Brandy), plus various stage 
versions starting in the 1960s and leading up to a New York City 
Opera production in the 1990s.

The fairy-tale musical's latest incarnation, a lavish staging 
that updates the material without adulterating it, opened Tuesday 
night at Gammage Auditorium.

It proved to be that rarest of successes: a dusted-off musical 
that shines as bright as or brighter than theoriginal. Director 
Gabriel Barre has pushed everything about the show to the top, 
without ever quite going over. The Stepmother is meaner, the 
stepsisters are goofier and the lovers are sweeter than ever

And then there's Eartha Kitt. She's billed as the Fairy 
Godmother, though in truth she plays herself. As feline and as 
earthy as ever (was anyone's name ever better suited?), Kitt 
makes her character's few lines and two songs into a star turn. 
No sugary presence, Kitt's Fairy Godmother is a slithering, 
questioning demigoddess who grants Cinderella her wish only when 
the little dear is "ready to take responsibility for her 
destiny." Did we mention there was a new script?

The new book, by Tom Briggs, updates the dialogue to a 
contemporary sensibility, while new musical arrangements by 
Andrew Lippa tinker considerably with Rodgers' tunes. All this 
works because Cinderella is one of only two true musical comedies 
Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote. (The other was Me and Juliet.) The 
rest of their works were musical plays, in which the songs speak 
of time and place as well as character. You couldn't back the 
music in Oklahoma! with a Latin beat, or put 21st-century jargon 
into the mouth of Anna in The King and I. But Cinderella's 
second-act song, A Lovely Night, works well as a rhumba, and it's 
only right that the Prince and his steward talk like friends who 
live down the street.

Jamie Lynn Sigler is the title character. A musical-comedy 
actress long before her role as Meadow Soprano on HBO's Sopranos 
made her famous, Sigler cradles the songs lovingly, and acts the 
wide-eyed innocent convincingly. Paolo Montalban repeats his role 
as Prince Christopher from the 1997 TV version. An exceptionally 
fine Broadway singer, he lifts the show's best tunes - Ten 
Minutes Ago, Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? - into the 

The Stepmother is Everett Quinton. As with every drag role ever 
performed, this one's campy, but Quinton is something else as 
well: scary. The stepsisters, played by Alexandra Kolb and 
NaTasha Yvette Williams, push the envelope of broad comedy almost 
to the limit. Ken Prymus and Leslie Becker are the now-bickering, 
now-cuddling king and queen.

The prize for the show's best comic double takes goes to Victor 
Trent Cook as the Prince's steward, Lionel. And he sings one 
heckuva powerful high note at the end of The Prince Is Giving a 
Ball, to boot.

As in the 1997 TV remake, the show opens with The Sweetest 
Sounds, culled from Rodgers' 1962 show (no longer done), No 
Strings. And, like the remake, this production ends with another 
borrowed song, the gorgeous and obscure There's Music in You, 
written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for a forgotten 1953 movie. It 
gives Kitt another chance to sing, and puts the capper on what 
may be, at last, the definitive version of this patchwork