Thursday February 22nd 2018

“Cinderella At The Theater Of Potatoes”

cinderella-8492Highly Recommended **** The Hypocrites Company is celebrating 20 years of productions. I must admit that on occasion, I have neglected this unique company and the incredible productions they bring to our city. I wish to apologize to them and based on what I saw tonight, in their World Premiere adaptation of “Cinderella At The Theater of Potatoes” written by Andrea Veils Simon, now onstage at The Den Theatre’s Main Stage, I will become a follower from this day forward. The show itself is based on “Cendrillon” and other compositions by Pauline Viardot-Garcia that tells a different type of Cinderella, “Happily-Ever-After”. This musical piece is what might be termed a “chamber-musical” or even a “chamber-operetta” sort of “Gilbert and Sullivan-ish”! and as directed by Sean Graney ( an amazing mind filled with creativity that is unthinkable). This is 90 minutes of pure entertainment as we watch a familiar story with a slightly different plot, and ending!

For those of you who know The Den Theatre located at  1329 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, it is housed in an older building that used to have warehouse and office space along with retail space on the street. Over the years, many changes have taken place as the developers continue to improve and modernize the facility. Each time I have visited this building I have seen the changes making this an ideal spot for theater companies searching for homes where public transportation and dining spots are nearby. They even have several spaces inside for snacks and beverages.


The Mainstage Theater is located on the street level, so there is no problem for those who cannot handle the long flight up to the stages on Floor Two (incidentally, when attending one of the second floor stages, they do have a freight elevator to get you up-just call the theater), but for this one, there is no problem. The theater is brightly lit with chairs on many levels and what you will see in the way of a set (Regina Garcia) is a large clothing rack, a stove, armoire and chair, along with a piano and several seating arrangements for the musicians. Each of the characters in the play, handles the music of Viardot-Garcia, under the direction of Velis Simon.

The Choreography by Breon Arzell is not your typical “musical” dance, but in fact, is designed for the characters that are presented to us. Alison Sipe’s costumes are amazingly bright, Ray Nardelli’s sound is perfect (we never miss a word, spoken or sung). Jared Gooding’s lighting is sheer perfection and Mealah Heidenreich’s props make it all work. At the very start of the story, we find that each of the characters we meet must pay the price of a potato to be there. FYI- when the play is done (90 minutes, with no intermission) so is the potato soup (thick and delicious-reminding me of my grandmother). Don’t forget to grab a cup (or two)!

This is an amazing ensemble! Amanda Martinez makes for a delightful Cinderella. Her vocal range is amazing!. There is no Step-Mother in this version, but rather a Baron (deftly handled by Joel Rodriguez). His two daughters (Aja Wilshire and Elle Walker), both quality musicians, are attempting to win the audition to be in a new show. Yes, they are not trying to win the hand of a prince, in fact there is NO Prince at all. It is a new musical piece written by  Fanny Mendelson (Dana Omar truly wins your heart and soul with her character of Fanny!  This is the storyline and it is well- played out by this brilliant cast. There are two other characters, Sand/Valet (Gay Glenn) and Pauline (Leslie Ann Sheppard). This is a very talented cast, many of whom have performed in Chicago with different troupes and as soloists. Here they are assembled, each bringing something special to the production that may open your eyes to more than just the performance art they bring to the stage.cinderella-at-the-theater-of-potatoes-3

Another FYI note: The Hypocrites has partnered with The Chicago Inclusion Project and will adopt an attitude of bringing new artists and voices to its productions. Congratulations on this partnership, allowing Chicago audiences to be able to  witness new artists, fighting off institutional discrimination and moving into new areas of diversity. There is no need for any more separation. No longer will ethnic background, economic status, gender identity, physical ability or any other barrier separate the talents of those who should be in roles. This makes this show even more special and the experience one that will leave you with a warmth in your heart as well as one in your tummy when you enjoy the potato soup.

“Cinderella At The Theater Of Potatoes” will continue at The Den Theatre’s Heath Mainstage thru January 8th, 2017 with performances as follows:

cinderella-at-the-theater-of-potatoes-6(Starting Friday, November 25th)

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  3  and 8 p.m.

Sundays  3 p.m.

ADDED PERFORMANCES: Thursday, December 22nd at 8 p.m. and Thursday, December 29th at 8 p.m.

NO PERFORMANCES on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

Tickets are $36 (students $15) and can be ordered at

To see what others are saying, visit, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Cinderella At The Theater Of Potatoes”, You will have an experience to remember!

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