Boston Herald
Thanks to Dan for this information!


`Cinderella,' Kitt & caboodle, is a hit
by Terry Byrne 

Friday, January 18, 2002

``Cinderella,'' at the Wang Theatre through Sunday.

The magic in Rodgers and Hammerstein's ``Cinderella'' 
comes primarily from Eartha Kitt. She is a fairy godmother 
with attitude. No fairy wings or wand for this woman. She's 
wearing a slinky sequined gown slit up the thigh and high 

Director Gabriel Barre has cleverly added moments to the 
musical specifically to show off Kitt, and really, we can't get 
enough of her. She is sexy, smart, sly, silly and remarkably 
limber at age 75. And when she encourages Cinderella to 
make an impression at the ball, Kitt drawls, ``I've never been 
big for fitting in. I've always preferred standing out.'' Honey, 
with a fairy godmother like this, anything's possible.

But even when Kitt is not onstage, this production of the 
sweet musical sparkles with joy. Barre does an excellent 
job of balancing the cartoonish characters with the 
down-to-earth principals.

Paolo Montalban reprises the role he played in the 1997 TV 
remake of ``Cinderella,'' and he and Jessica Rush as 
Cinderella make a lovely couple. Vocally, they are reliable, 
with Rush providing simple charm in ``In My Own Little 
Corner,'' and the duo doing a nice job on ``Do I Love You 
Because You're Beautiful?'' and ``Ten Minutes Ago.''

Barre also has added an element of puppetry to the 
proceedings, with the story's four white mice, cat and a dove 
appearing, manipulated by six neutrally dressed 
puppeteers. This aspect was done tastefully and delighted 
my kids.

The stepmother is played in drag by Everett Quinton (looking 
like Mel Brooks with makeup), who hams it up to the hilt, as 
do Natasha Yvette Williams and Sandra Bargman as the 
stepsisters. Williams and Bargman also do a great job with 
their duet, the funny ``Stepsisters' Lament.''

Brooks Ashmanskas, who appeared last season in the 
Huntington's ``Amphitryon,'' plays the Prince's servant Lionel 
with a flourish that competes somewhat with Quinton's 

Scenic designer James Youmans and costume designer 
Pamela Scofield go for a look that is part Dr. Seuss, part 
``Wizard of Oz,'' with lots of oranges and blues, greens and 
yellows. Youmans' spare settings rely on a few simple set 
pieces (a front door, a fireplace, a staircase), with bold 
abstract areas to create the fairy tale mood.

Andrew Lippa, who wrote a version of ``The Wild Party'' that 
played at the Manhattan Theatre Club, has added a 
syncopated beat to his arrangements of the Rodgers and 
Hammerstein score, which are a bit overdone. In spite of 
that unnecessary tinkering though, the simple beauty of the 
score shines through.