Thanks to Lisa for this article!
Cinderella Review from the The Miami Herald 

If the glass slipper fits

By Christine Dolen
The Miami Herald 
Published: Tuesday, December 5, 2000 

Say what you will about Cinderella, the girl has staying power.

Her story started as a folk tale first recorded in China during 
the Ninth Century. It took on many now-familiar elements -- a 
fairy godmother, a pumpkin turned into a carriage, the glass 
slipper that changes a young woman's fate -- in a 1697 version by 
French author Charles Perrault, then Disney animators made the 
story into a typically sweet cartoon in 1950.

Even Drew Barrymore took a turn, wearing the glass slippers in 
the 1998 movie Ever After.

Still, one of the most beloved versions of Cinderella came from 
Broadway's great composer-lyricist team, Richard Rodgers and 
Oscar Hammerstein, who fashioned the familiar story into a 
successful made-for-TV musical in 1957.

Across time, across cultures, across art forms, the story of the 
sweet-but-victimized young woman whose fairy godmother helps her 
into the arms of a prince remains the stuff that fuels little 
girls' dreams.

And now, with all the spectacle contemporary high-tech theater 
can muster, Cinderella takes on yet another life, this time in an 
expanded stage version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.

The show that opens at 8 tonight at Miami Beach's Jackie Gleason 
Theater is multiethnic, multigenerational and, in one case, 
gender-bending. It stars Paolo Montalban as the prince (a role he 
played opposite Brandy's Cinderella in the 1997 Disney TV movie 
version, which is now being endlessly recycled on the Disney 
Channel), Everett Quinton (that great male diva-in-drag from the 
Ridiculous Theatrical Company) as the wicked stepmother, and 
actress and pop star Deborah Gibson as Cinderella.

As her fairy godmother, Gibson gets the agelessly alluring Eartha 

Kitt, 73, earned her third Tony Award nomination last season for 
her sultry turn in The Wild Party and, as you might expect of 
this stylishly unique actress who speaks in a distinctive purr, 
she will not be your standard wand-waving fairy godmother.

``Even though she's a goody-goody person, she's interesting,'' 
Kitt said during rehearsals for the production's premiere last 
week in Tampa. ``Cinderella says, `You, a fairy godmother?' And I 
say, `You have a problem with that?'

``I do it all with my tongue inside my cheek anyway.''

``Eartha is an icon, unique,'' says the 30-year-old Gibson, who 
had two No. 1 singles (Foolish Beat and Lost in Your Eyes) during 
her pop-diva days in the late '80s, when she was known as Debbie 
Gibson. ``Her charisma is amazing, and she's so grounded. She 
brings out a new side of Cinderella. This Cinderella is a little 
more sassy.''

The new $2.5-million production contains such familiar songs as 
Cinderella's In My Own Little Corner and the Cinderella-Prince 
duet Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?, as well as two 
songs pulled from other Rodgers and Hammerstein sources (The 
Sweetest Sounds from No Strings and There's Music in You from the 
movie Main Street to Broadway).

Script writer Tom Briggs, who previously adapted Rodgers and 
Hammerstein's movie musical State Fair for the stage, has tried 
to create a more contemporary show for the diverse cast. Musical 
arrangements are by hot young composer Andrew Lippa, whose 
admired Off-Broadway version of The Wild Party preceded the one 
starring Kitt last season. Director Gabriel Barre, a Tony-
nominated actor in his own right, has incorporated animal puppets 
and illusions designed by Franz Harary into the show.

Theatrical glitz aside, the familiar story still belongs to 
Cinderella. And what audiences will see, Kitt and Gibson say, 
isn't just a young woman whose life is transformed by wishing but 
(as in the Brandy-Whitney Houston TV version) a Cinderella who 
has to grasp the power she has to change her life.

``Everything starts with a wish, but it's what you do with that 
wish that counts,'' Kitt said. ``God helps those who help 

Adds Gibson, ``The fairy godmother makes Cinderella work for her 

Kitt, who voices one of the characters in the new Disney animated 
film The Emperor's New Groove, said she enjoys theater and 
touring as much as she ever has, though the technical process has 
become more complex since she made her New York stage debut 48 
years ago.

``Theater is so computerized now that if one thing is wrong, you 
have to do it all over again,'' she said. ``I made a mistake in a 
line at rehearsal and put up my hand to stop. Then you have to go 
backwards in the computer, then back up to where you made the 
mistake. It throws off your sense of timing.

``But I'm very glad that the public is still saying, `Welcome, 
Eartha.' ''

Gibson, whose latest release is the single What You Want from her 
forthcoming seventh album, has amassed theater credits in such 
shows as Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, Grease, Funny Girl 
and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat since expanding 
her career into theater, television and film. And though there 
has been no talk of it yet, she hopes this Cinderella -- whose 
nine-month national tour includes an engagement at the Broward 
Center for the Performing Arts in April -- proves strong enough 
to wind up on Broadway.

``We've made bold choices, with all regard for the original,'' 
she said.

Christine Dolen is The Herald's theater critic.