Thanks to Lisa for this article!
A review from the Toronto Star

Jan. 31, 2001. 12:42 AM 
There's no glass slipper here, just plastic 
Richard Ouzounian

Cinderella       416-870-8000
By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Directed by Gabriel 
Barre. Choreography by Ken Roberson. Until February 4 at the 
Pantages Theatre, 244 Victoria Street.

Here's good news for all you wannabe Cinderellas out there: the 
version which opened at the Pantages Theatre last night will get 
you home long before midnight.

Whether it will keep you awake till then is another matter.

The production directed by Gabriel Barre has the unique 
distinction of being brassy, broad and boring - all at the same 

Rodgers and Hammerstein first wrote Cinderella for television in 
1957 during their long slump that followed The King and I. 

Despite the fact that it's not one of their greatest scores, it 
was extremely popular at the time, due in part to the 
performance of Julie Andrews, while she was still dazzling 
Broadway in My Fair Lady.

It was redone a few years later with Lesley Ann Warren, and then 
turned into a stage version which has been a staple of theatres 
ever since.

Finally in 1997 it was heavily rewritten, and transformed into a 
Wonderful World of Disney special starring Brandy. It's a 
further rewrite of that video version - rather than the beloved 
original - which is now being presented on stage.

Instead of fairytale charm and timeless beauty, we get a total 
compendium of pop cliches. ``Same old, same old . . . been 
there, done that. . . . you want a piece of me. . . .duh'' are 
all there to make you feel you're watching a strangely costumed 
version of Clueless.

The Rodgers tunes are still there (with a couple of additions 
from his catalogue), but they have been orchestrated in a 
disfiguring manner, adding beat where none was intended, and 
manipulating rhythm to the point where Hammerstein's lyrics now 
seem to scan oddly. (Something they were never guilty of.)

It's not necessary to recap the story (wicked stepmother, ugly 
stepsisters, fairy godmother, pumpkin coach, yadda yadda) which 
remains more or less intact. The substance isn't the problem, 
it's the style that will have you figdeting in your seat.

Take Cinderella's stepfamily. Her Stepmom is supposed to be 
awful, true, but is she supposed to be played in drag as a dead 
ringer for Mel Brooks? (Everett Quinton is the guilty party.) 
And must both stepsisters be caricatured beyond belief, causing 
eye and ear fatigue at the same time? (NaTasha Yvette Williams 
and Alexandra Kolb fight to a photo finish for the Overactor of 
the Night Award.)

Then there's the Fairy Godmother. Eartha Kitt plays her much the 
same way she played the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz several 
years ago: slinky sex and sardonic menace. Come to think of it, 
that's probably how Ms. Kitt would play Mother Theresa.

Or how about the chorus of mice that befriend Cinderella? They 
consist of stick puppets manipulated by a chorus of men in blue 
pyjamas. It looks like some sanitation workers decided to do 
their version of The Lion King.

On the positive side, I enjoyed the performance of Paolo 
Montalban as the Prince, although his sincerity seemed to have 
wandered in from another far more appropriate production. 

This leaves us with Deborah Gibson's Cinderella. She starts out 
as the humble slattern wearing eyelashes that reach halfway to 
Hamilton and makeup that Joan Collins might have found a bit 
much. Oh wait. She does have a smudge on one cheek.

And when she is transformed into the beautiful creature at the 
ball, she looks for all the world like Fran Drescher heading to 
her Prom.

Her singing style falls uncomfortably between the arena of pop 
she used to inhabit, and the world of musical theatre she now 
chooses, scoring a hit in neither field.

To top it all off, she seems far too old and worldly for 
Cinderella, leaving us with the feeling that what we've been 
watching is really Debbie Does Disney.

There's no glass slipper here, friends, just pure plastic.