Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Aubrey Trecek, Entertainment Editor

Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella began as a made-for-television musical in 1957, and has since been restyled an excessive amount of times. This version absolutely amazed me. It had the perfect mixture of past and present, combing sentimentality and snark as well as sincerity and irony. This Cinderella was no damsel in distress. She took charge of her destiny, not by losing her glass slipper, but by simply handing it to the prince.

There was a lot of buzz all over the Cadillac Palace in Chicago on December 19, both preshow and during intermission. Paige Faure, who was listed to play the title role in Cinderella, would not be performing due to a cold. Instead, her understudy, Audrey Cardwell, would be taking control. Eavesdropping in on conversations held in the souvenir line during intermission, some were disappointed; however, I found Cardwell to be a quality performer. She had a charming voice, although hard to hear at certain points, and she played Cinderella with a charismatic vulnerability.

Cardwell was not the only talent in this tour production. Andy Jones, who played Prince Topher, sang angelically, and he appealed to the eyes just as much as the ears. “Ten Minutes Ago” was by far the best number in the whole show, sung absolutely enchantingly by Cardwell and Jones.

The supporting characters were fantastic. Kecia Lewis as Marie, the fairy godmother, was superb. Aymee Garcia, who played Charlotte, one of the stepsisters, brought hilarity to a role that turned out to be surprisingly relatable. Gabrielle, the second stepsister, was played by Ashley Park. This stepsister received a large storyline, one that humanized her after she fell in love. Madame, the stepmother, was portrayed by Beth Glover, who spun nasty lines into comical ones.

There were two new characters to those who are only familiar with Disney’s Cinderella. Jean-Michel, played by David Andino, a politically progressive man who calls the town folk to social change with the song, “Now Is the Time”. There was one actor who was rather boring, and that was Blake Hammond as Sebastian, the prince’s regent figure who tricks the naïve royal into signing bills that oppress his people.

The forest scenery and costumes were breathtaking. The showstoppers were not the songs but rather, the dresses that transformed before the audience’s eyes from rags to beautiful ball gowns. The wedding dress in the finale brought down the house.

This show was glamorous and hilarious, and it could not have been more enchanting.