Article from Seattle Times 

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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/artsentertainment/134306224
_cinderella140.html

Thursday, June 14, 2001 - 12:00 a.m. Pacific

Theater Review
New 'Cinderella': This Godmother never grows old 

By Misha Berson
Seattle Times theater critic
 
Sometimes the Fairy Godmother steals the show. 

Eartha Kitt could be convicted of a very benign form of grand 
larceny for doing just that in the touring production of Rodgers 
and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" at the Paramount Theatre. 

At 74, Kitt looks totally mah-velous wearing a foxy smile and a 
long, shimmering gown. She vamps and dances, kicking a supple 
leg high in the air. And when she talks and sings, in that 
trademark exotic growl, the ageless chanteuse is as sardonic and 
playfully seductive as ever. 

It's not your usual Fairy Godmother routine, but her performance 
is a very enjoyable element in this perky "Cinderella," a family 
attraction that goes out of its way to inject contemporary 
pizazz into a vintage fairy tale. 

This version features Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who plays mob princess 
Meadow Soprano on the popular cable series, "The Sopranos") as 
the abused stepchild of myth and legend. 

Gabriel Barre's staging, which is visiting a numerous American 
cities, borrows a lot from Disney's 1997 telecast 
of "Cinderella." It has the same handsome, sincere Prince 
Charming (Paolo Montalban), the same devotion to multicultural 
casting (this Cinderella has a black sibling, a white sibling 
and a stepmom who's really a male actor), the same appropriation 
of a Richard Rodgers song from another musical ("The Sweetest 
Sounds," from "No Strings") and the same penchant for saddling 
Rodgers' light, dulcet melodies with overbearing pop 
arrangements. 

The latter doesn't seem to bother the young children who are 
clearly the target audience here. In any case, there's enough 
animated comedy, hocus-pocus effects and fairy-dust romance to 
keep even alert 5-year-olds engaged. 

And whoever decided to give Cinderella some animal pals - an 
adorable crew of twittering mice and a big fluffy cat (all rod 
puppets, manipulated by onstage puppeteers) - is a family 
entertainment whiz. During the curtain call, those critters get 
a big ovation. 

As the gal with the glass slipper, Sigler uncorks a modest but 
appealing singing voice and displays a sweet stage presence. And 
as her prince, Montalban croons well and looks swell. 

If the love stuff is pretty bland, the comedy in "Cinderella" is 
aggressive - a tradition that extends back to the raucous 
English musical-hall versions of the story. 

Here, the vain stepsisters, Natasha Yvette Williams and 
Alexandra Kolb, wear the expected garish, unflattering get-ups 
(designed by costumer Pamela Scofield) and do a lot of 
shrieking. 

There's more subtle clowning (if such a thing can exist in this 
context) from Everett Quinton, the great drag actor, whose 
stepmother-from-hell sports a Lucille Ball hairdo and a flair 
for haughty nagging. And Brooks Ashmanskas proves a nimble 
jester as the palace steward, Lionel. 

It's also true that some of the charming innocence of this 
musical in its original form (it premiered on TV in 1957, with 
beguiling Julie Andrews in the lead) has been erased with the 
louder, broader approach applied here. 

But, alas, that's show biz these days. And judging from the 
smiles on the small faces on opening night, "Cinderella" (and 
Eartha Kitt) are timeless enchanters. 

Copyright  2001 The Seattle Times Company