Article from The Dallas Morning News

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Wednesday | July 11, 2001
Spellbinding performances dazzle 'Cinderella' audience

By Tom Sime / The Dallas Morning News

The rush was on for booster seat cushions at Tuesday's opening 
of Cinderella. The short set was out in force for this Rodgers & 
Hammerstein musical and probably never noticed that Jamie-Lynn 
Sigler had dropped out of the title role. They wouldn't know The 
Sopranos from The Three Tenors anyway. 

Not that they knew who the strange lady playing the Fairy 
Godmother was, either, but at least Eartha Kitt showed up. True 
to form, she vamped and slithered in her headlining cameo role. 
But it was Ms. Sigler's understudy, Jessica Rush, who worked the 
crowd without trying so hard. She no doubt won everyone over, 
whether they needed a boost to see her or not. 
The musical was written for television in 1957, when it was 
broadcast live with Julie Andrews as Cinderella, the mistreated 
orphan who becomes a princess. In this version, she does it 
through determination first, magic second. Her Fairy Godmother 
makes sure she's willing to get to the royal ball on her own 
before she conjures up a pumpkin coach. 

Mark Schumann's program notes remind us that when it premiered, 
Cinderella was watched by more than 100 million people, a figure 
it would have to sell out on Broadway every night for 110 years 
to match. It's been remade for TV twice, and is now a touring 
stage staple as well, so it's likely to have been seen by more 
people than any other Rodgers & Hammerstein show. Fans of 
Oklahoma! and South Pacific might grumble about that, but for a 
relative trifle, Cinderella's a snappy, sweet and tuneful one. 
It's funny, unpretentious and brief. 

And now it has Everett Quinton, formerly of the renowned 
Ridiculous Theatrical Company, in drag as Stepmother. (Hey, 
Playbill people, he's an icon too; move his name up in the 
credits). He's hilariously funny, as are the two delightfully 
dreadful daughters, Joy (Alexandra Kolb) and Grace (NaTasha 
Yvette Williams). 

They don't get a prince, but the nasty girls sing one of the 
best tunes, "Stepsisters' Lament." And all three baddies join in 
on "A Lovely Night," when even they succumb to Cinderella's 
charm as she recalls meeting the Prince (Paolo Montalban). 

Design is a bit spotty; some of the sets are clunky and garish. 
But the golden coach is impressive, and the costumes are fine 
overall. The stepfamily finery is really inspired, taking a cue 
from nature in making the ladies gaudy enough to warn predators 
of the toxicity within. 

Cinderella's animal pals are manned by a team of puppeteers who 
stay in plain sight, but make the creatures convincing anyway. 
The chemistry between the young lovers is also believable. And 
the message to kids is credible too. Not "You can do anything," 
not "You can be anyone"; they get that stuff a lot. It's just 
Godmother's modest assurance that "There is music in you."