Hartford Courant Movie Review Thanks to Lisa for this information! Strong Cast And Puppets Enliven A Musical `Cinderella' February 27, 2002 By DONNA LARCEN, Courant Staff Writer "Every girl deserves to be treated with respect and kindness," the handsome prince in disguise at the marketplace says to Cinderella the scullery maid. And that is the moral of the tale. "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" opened its stay in Hartford Tuesday night at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and like all good fairy tales it had a happy ending. The prince finds his true love, the king and queen are assured of another heir and the wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters get their comeuppance. This national tour is a smoothly produced and performed confection. Paolo Montalban is strong and sensitive as the earnest young prince. Jessica Rush brings a sweet voice and not- too-saccharine reading to the determined damsel. And Eartha Kitt is a Fairy Godmother with sass and grit - an advertisement for daily workouts. A sexier senior would be hard to find. The show is filled with stock characters more cartoon-like than human, but that works well in this story. There's even a bit of gender bender as Everett Quinton plays a broadly sketched stepmother in a frightful red wig and Technicolor outfits. Understudy Jason Robinson stepped up nicely as the prince's manservant, Lionel. Ken Prymus, as the king, and Leslie Becker, as the queen, have the proper parental tone. And self-important stepsisters played by Sandra Bargman and Natasha Yvette Williams snorted and scratched their way through sight gags. Special mention is well deserved for the puppeteers who maneuvered the mice, cat and bird adding an extra dimension as support group for Cinderella's big scenes. And it was refreshing to hear musicians in the pit who provided support for Rodgers and Hammerstein's score. The audience was filled with would-be princes and princesses who oohed and ahhed in all the right places. At intermission they drank special "glass slipper" mocktails and purchased plenty of $20 mouse puppet souvenirs. The show is two full acts, but you'll get home well before the clock strikes 12.