Article from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/magazine/20010517cinder5.asp Thanks to Noel for this information! Eartha Kitt a hit, but 'Cinderella's' shoe doesn't fit 'Sopranos' Sigler Thursday, May 17, 2001 By Christopher Rawson, Post-Gazette Drama Critic This is not, make that NOT, your mother's "Cinderella." How could it be, with Eartha Kitt playing the Fairy Godmother with feline growl, turning her hapless goddaughter into an empowerment project? Kitt is no Glinda the Goody-Good, but a Godmother you'd expect to pair with a Godfather -- a woman who's Been Around more than once and isn't going to let her young charge wimp out. The miracle is that she puts her stamp on the show in just one and a half scenes. But she never wholly succeeds in putting spine in Cinderella, as played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, better known as Meadow Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos." Sigler has moments of youthful charm, mainly when playing with the friendly puppet animals. And though her voice isn't Broadway beautiful, it has a pleasing light pop sound. But her Cinderella must be the dourest ever -- essentially WAP (whiny American princess), retaining her pout even when she ought to express joy. I'm certainly happy to see a Cinderella out of the usual golden girl mold. There is a gritty reality to Sigler's bedraggled waif. She's at her best expressing familial deprivation (a la Meadow) or tucked into her chimney corner singing with the toy pets. But I don't see her grow or blossom. Even when paired with the Prince, she's abashed and morose. I'd recommend more self-improvement sessions with that gutsy gutteral Godmother. In short, the Godmother remains Eartha Kitt, which is great; that Cinderella seems like Meadow Soprano isn't. Fortunately, Cinderella's depression is well motivated by the comic villain, Everett Quinton, who stiffens the comic stepmom with moments of steely denial. The stepsisters are less villains than victims and fools -- Leslie Becker's Joy is joyless and NaTasha Yvette Williams' brawny Grace is an oaf (and especially funny). Up at the palace, Paolo Montalban's Prince sings well and emotes pleasingly within his allotted range. He's also a handsome fellow, which director Gabriel Barre knows, since he has him strip off his shirt to show his admirable biceps. Ken Prymus' pudgy King and Leslie Becker's slip of a Queen are a nice contrast, more comic than coercive, and Brooks Ashmanskas does a lively Nathan Lane turn as the palace steward. These families are multi-ethnic and the kingdom, as designed by James Youmans and Pamela Scofield, is of no particular place or time, a vague cross between Arabian Nights and Teutonic. Call it Somethingstan. But it's hard for any town bazaar to be truly bustling when there are just a dozen ensemble members. At the ball, it seems no one showed up and the footmen are pressed into service instead. Though Eastern puppet techniques have become common on our stages, the six animals manipulated with sticks by black-clad handlers are audience favorites as they chatter, advise and sing backup. Just as Godmother's tough sergeant mode makes it seem Cinderella will have to hitch-hike to the ball, the show relents and gives us the magical transformation we expect. The midnight switch back into rags is even more magical. At times, Tuesday, the orchestral sound was coarse, perhaps because of over-reliance on synthesizers, perhaps because opening night on the road lacks fine-tuning. Although the score is by Rodgers and Hammerstein (written first for TV), it's about as minor as R&H get, its two standards being "In My Own Little Corner" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful." In the curtain call, Kitt, 70-plus, touches the floor. Why? Because she still can! Give us more Kitt!