Thanks to Dan for this article! A review from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 'Cinderella' is no pumpkin Touring production of fairy tale is sumptuous, sassy and smart By DAMIEN JAQUES Journal Sentinel theater critic Last Updated: April 4, 2001 You don't have to be a child to be thrilled by the national touring company production of "Cinderella" that arrived at the Marcus Center Tuesday night. Forget that its subject is a familiar children's fairy tale. This is Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," originally written for television in 1957, and the score is fun, smart and luxuriously elegant. The adaptation for the stage, written by Waukesha native Tom Briggs, is hip and even a little sassy, as well as touching when the story calls for it. Gabriel Barre's direction and Ken Roberson's choreography blend stage savvy with snap and attitude. The tone is unabashedly broad, but the comedy never spins out of control. The show's design cuts no corners in delivering vivid visuals worthy of the tale's fantasy, and it supports a marvelous theatricality that is deeper and more daring than simply a collection of special effects. The appearance of Cinderella's stagecoach is just as awe-inspiring as the first glimpse of the underground lake in "The Phantom of the Opera," but this production accomplishes something more. Rod puppets manipulated by clearly visible chorus members portray the mice, cat and bird that bolster Cinderella's spirits. The device, unusual for mainstream musical theater, works spectacularly well, illustrating that effective theatricality is not reliant on virtual reality, even in these high-tech times. The opening night audience responded to the puppets with audible glee. None of this stage magic overshadows the touring company's cast, notable for its seamless ensemble work and its high degree of racial diversity, which is unusual for a Broadway show with no inherent ethnicity. The prince's family personifies this. His mother, the queen, is played by a Caucasian actress, Leslie Becker. His father, the king, is portrayed by African-American Ken Prymus, a veteran of seven years in the Broadway cast of "Cats." Paolo Montalban, who is of Filipino descent, is the prince. The show plays to the diversity, employing specific comic types and traits, rather than ignoring it. And the story of the abused orphan, the handsome prince and the glass slipper never trips over the racial differences among the characters. A superior cast must take at least some of the credit for that. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, known to millions as Meadow Soprano on the HBO series that bears that family name, is as believable a fairy-tale character as she is a Mafia daughter. She has presence, polish, focus and a chemistry with Montalban that is palpable. Their first dance at the ball crackles with romantic electricity. Sigler's singing voice is closer to a pop star's than the fully developed pipes of a Broadway lead, but it's sweet and works fine for this role. The audience enjoys having Eartha Kitt on the Uihlein Hall stage playing the Fairy Godmother as much as she obviously enjoys showing us some leg toward the end of the musical. That voice, that bearing, that attitude and an ability to still move like a dancer at 74 make her appearance here special. It's also a treat to have Everett Quinton, a New York legend and drag-queen actor, here portraying the wicked but funny Stepmother. Like all of the supporting players, he is crisp and focused to great comic effect. Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 5, 2001.