Article from Rocky Mountain News
Thanks to Lisa for this information!,1299,DRM

'Cinderella' wastes promise of magic

By Lisa Bornstein, News Staff Writer

There's magic at the Buell Auditorium this month, in the form of 
dozens of little girls in their best ball gowns and tiaras, 
girded for the touring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 
Cinderella, which opened Tuesday. 
Unfortunately, the show squanders much of that magic in a 
rendition that is tone deaf in most ways but musical. A glance 
at the credits gives a quick explanation. Cinderella was written 
as a 1957 teleplay starring Julie Andrews. The current tour was 
adapted for the stage by Tom Briggs, best known for co-authoring 
the thoroughly lackluster 1990s adaptation of State Fair. 

Like that show, Cinderella is quick to discard much of the 
original's simple charms in favor of gimmicks and quips that 
fall flat on their faces. Animal puppets are employed almost 
entirely during musical numbers, as if Rodgers and Hammerstein 
songs were too dull to stand on their own. 

Someone's idea of contemporary idiom is inserted throughout the 
show, contributing phrases such as as if, word up and been 
there, done that. The effect is that of a 50-year-old trying to 
get down with the hip kids. It's about as embarrassing as seeing 
your mom rap along with Eminem. 

As the beleaguered Cinderella, former teen star Deborah Gibson 
displays a pleasant voice and countenance, but she hasn't yet 
mastered the skill of acting. She spends most of the evening 
with a sweet, generically hopeful upturned face, but doesn't 
display the emotion of, say, Disney's animated version. 

Somewhere in the midst of this, notes of joy erupt. Scenic 
designer James Youmans has turned out a fairy tale version by 
way of Tim Burton, all askew angles and playfully warped 
geography. Ken Roberson delivers attractive choreography, 
particularly during the opening number, a game of catch with 
turkeys and pineapples. 

As the Prince, Paolo Montalban is handsome and pop-voiced. The 
stepsisters (Alexandra Kolb and Natasha Yvette Williams) start 
out too juvenile, but soon develop distinctive characters. 
Eartha Kitt makes a strange and wondrous, if somewhat stern, 
creature of the fairy godmother. 

In a multicultural cast, male actor Everett Quinton has been 
cast as the evil stepmother. The cross-gender is neither ignored 
nor amplified, and Quinton's performance is more threatening 
than humorous. It's just another facet in a production that 
hasn't decided whether to be funny or stern, adult or juvenile, 
classic or contemporary. 

Fortunately, with platinum songs like In My Own Little Corner 
and Impossible, Cinderella won't easily be dented. And little 
girls will be thrilled just seeing their princess come to light, 
tiara and all. 

Contact Lisa Bornstein at (303) 892-5101 or 

August 1, 2001