Thanks to Lisa for this article!
Cinderella Review from the Grand Rapids

Gently updated 'Cinderella' has a fine story to tell

Wednesday, December 27, 2000

By Sue Merrell
The Grand Rapids Press


It's virtually impossible for a 1,300-year-old fairy tale to be
relevant to today's young women. As Fairy Godmother would say,
though, impossible things happen every day, at least every day
this week as Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" unfolds at
DeVos Hall.

Little girls, their hair beaded, braided and bowed, were
wide-eyed in anticipation Tuesday night while their parents and
grandparents sat back and enjoyed Richard Rodgers' magical music.
Although Tom Briggs has updated the script a bit, the songs
thankfully retain all the poignant lyrics and powerful music of
the original 1957 telefilm.

The updated script gives us a stronger Cinderella and a saucier
Fairy Godmother. In fact, Eartha Kitt's
godmother-with-an-attitude is surprisingly funny, and, in a
slinky strapless dress slit up to there, even sexy. At 73, her
trademark throaty voice remains as strong and alluring as ever.

The practically packed opening-night house gave a rousing welcome
as each of the three principals debuted on the stage, and that
applause was particularly strong for Paolo Montalban, who is
reprising the role as Prince that he created for the 1997
televised movie version. Montalban is a charming prince, properly
muscled when he is changing his clothes and endearingly
vulnerable in love.

Deborah Gibson is alternately strong and subservient as
Cinderella, the fireside dreamer afraid to stand up to her
stepmother. In most songs her voice blends well with Montalban's,
making their duets a highlight of the night. Cinderella sings in
almost every scene, and the '80s pop diva has a resonant voice
that's clearly up to the demand.

She is particularly convincing when she wishes to go to the ball
on behalf of every girl who ever wanted to go to a dance but was
denied. Every female, young and old, could identify with that.

Everette Quinton's wicked stepmother was frighteningly snippy and
not the least bit exaggerated. In fact, I suspect that people who
had not read their programs didn't even realize the part was
played by a man.

The two stepsisters, NaTasha Yvette Williams and Alexandra Kolb,
were among the humorous highlights of the evening, starting with
their ridiculous hairstyles and dresses.

But there were lots of humorous moments, physical fun that all
ages enjoyed. For instance, King Maximillian, given a
tongue-in-cheek interpretation by Ken Prymus, is introduced in
his boldly colored purple and orange undies as he hops around the
stage trying on a hot pink suit several sizes too small.

The prince's steward, played by Victor Trent Cook, also delivers
some of the funniest lines of the night, especially when he is
fighting off the advances of the wicked stepmother.

Four chattering mice, a roly-poly cat and an overly plummed dove
were created by stick puppets, which meant in most scenes that
their handlers were in plain view as the mice danced and the fat
cat climbed the furniture.

I found the handlers a little distracting and preferred the
scenes where the handlers were hidden behind the fireplace or
pyramid of pumpkins. But clearly the children in the audience
were soon able to overlook the handlers and were delighted at the
animals' antics.

The set and costumes gave the production a very contemporary
feel, from the skewed houses around the fountain in the village
square to the upside-down Christmas tree look of the ballroom
chandeliers. There were a couple set change snafus, an errant
spotlight and, at one point, a wrong background dropping halfway
down, but on the whole, huge set pieces slipped on and off stage
without a hitch.

The transformation of the pumpkin into the coach was accomplished
with a lot of flashing lights, smoke and shadows, but more
amazing was Cinderella's quick change from peasant clothes to
royal gown, complete with a new hairstyle. It seemed impossible.

But making the impossible possible is the whole point of

As long as there are little girls with impossible dreams,
Cinderella's story will be told.