REVIEW: “Impossible” Not to Love TCT’s Cinderella

By Sherri Ogden Wellington

This is not just Cinderella–this is Rogers (music) & Hammerstein II (book & lyrics) Cinderella. Wow!  The singing,  the dancing, the scenery, and the music (Music Direction: Jason Alexander Holmes) are amazing.  You are transformed into a world where there are Fairy Godmothers, evil step-sisters,  balls and princes that fall in love with ordinary girls.

The Plot of TCT’s Cinderella

The original Disney animated Cinderella explains the circumstances of our dear overworked Cinderella than R & H Cinderella. It also goes into much more detail of Cinderella’s everyday life  and less about the Prince and his parents.  However, the basic plot is the same:  a sweet girl who is verbally abused by her step-mother and her ridiculous daughters who attempt to keep her from going to the ball.  Of course, her Fairy Godmother comes to her rescue with a dress, carriage, horses, footmen and groom so that Cinderella can go to the ball. It follows that she falls in love with the prince and they live happily ever after (of course, after the elusive glass slipper is found).

TCT's Cinderella cast.
TCT’s Cinderella cast. Photos by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Let’s Start with the Singing!

So many incredible things to talk about regarding this musical!  Let’s start with the singing.  Everyone, simply everyone,  has a fabulous voice. Cinderella (Juno Brosas) has a lovely lyrical voice which is perfect for the part. The prince (JT Langlas) has a flair in his singing that is spell binding (or maybe it is how he whips his hair around!).  Even the step-mother (Spring Starr Pillow), step-sister Joy (Anna Arose Deleon Guerrero) and other step-sister Portia (Karli Smith) have strong voices. The King’s (Jazz McMullen) and Queen’s (Michelle Wells) roles are more for context but their voices and elaborate costumes (Costume Design:  Daryl Harris and Wig Design: Candance Leyland) make them commanding presences.

The voice which is the strongest and has the most range is definitely Tia Seay (Fairy Godmother). The ensemble is primarily made up of fairly young people, some in middle school. The rest are in college or recent graduates.  Yet, all of their voices are harmonious and the dancing is spectacular.  

The Herald (Jathan “JB” Briscoe) elegantly announces all major events. His mere presence lifts your status so that you are worthy to be in the company of the King and Queen.

TCT's Cinderella cast.
TCT’s Cinderella cast. Photos by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Let’s Talk about the Dancing!

Talk about dancing!  There are so many scenes in which the actors have to complete elaborate choreographic sequences and everyone accomplishes them flawlessly (Choreographer: Tina DeAlderete). A favorite dance of mine  is when the chefs present the various dishes for the ball to the king and queen.  The male dancers hold a tray of food piled high (okay so they are glued together on the tray and the tray has a handle underneath for each actor to hold on to) but what a feat to dance with such abandon while holding onto such a thing!  The ball is another display of excellent dancing and choreography.  What a display of talent.  It is especially enjoyable to watch the physicality of the step-mother and her daughters.  

TCT's Cinderella cast.
TCT’s Cinderella cast. Photos by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Wow! The Design!

Other aspects of the musical that make it notable include the scenic design  The stage is versatile and has unusually elaborate scenery.  Various pieces are being dropped down, brought from the sides and pushed in and out (Scenic Design: Seth Howard).  The most stupefying scene is where a  light curtain is brought down onto the stage.  This is when the Fairy Godmother is transforming a  pumpkin into a coach, the mice into horses, etc. But the gown scene is unbelievable.  The audience sees Cinderella behind the  sheath with the horses walking in front of her and then somehow she goes from wearing a frock to wearing a gown. It is simply fun and amazing to watch.  

TCT's Cinderella cast.
TCT’s Cinderella cast. Photos by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The Creative and Production Team

There are so many people that make a production like this so successful. Direction, Chris Stewart; Assistant Direction, Isaiah Reaves;  Lighting Design, Ylena Babinskaya; Technical Direction, Ben Adams & Maggie Foley; Production Stage Manager, Jadi Davis and, as always, Artistic Director, Roderick Justice provide an hour of escape into a beautiful, funny, and thoroughly entertaining world.

Tickets to TCT’s Cinderella

Even if you don’t have a child to take to this production, plan on seeing this.  It is entertainment at its best! R & H Cinderella plays at the Taft Theatre downtown:

  • Sunday,   February 18,   2:00 pm
  • Friday,    February 23,    7:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 24,  11:00 am & 2:00 pm
  • Sunday,   February 25,    2:00 pm

To get tickets, go to the Children’s Theatre Box Office.

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