Tuesday August 22nd 2017

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”

Highly Recommended **** Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences has developed a program that opens live theater to future audiences. Their current production is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”, a different version then the classic animated Disney film, so there are different songs, although the story is the same. Everyone knows the story- the Prince is reday to find a bride and his mother is planning a ball where every young lady will have a chance to meet him. The only girl who is not invited is Cinderella, whose stepmother treats her as a servant while taking special care of her own daughters. Cinderella has a Fairy Godmother who makes her magic allowing Cinderella to attend the ball where she meets the prince and they fall in love. She has to leave before the stroke of midnight or she will turn back into a plain girl, but in running away, she loses one of the glass slippers and so the Prince has his servant scour the village to find the girl it fits so he can find his true love. Of course, as in all fairy tales, we have a happy ending.

What makes this production, directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery with musical direction by Ryan Nelson so outstanding is their ability to find just the right talent to make it all come true. The prince is gallantly played by Brian Bohr with his mother played by Stephanie Binetti and the King played by veteran Marriott performer Rob Rahn. The evil stepmother by anothe Marriott pro Iris Lieberman and her two spoiled daughters by Kelley Abell(Portia) and Ericka Mac (Joy). These three ladies are perfect as the ones you love to hate. Cinderella is played by the heavenly Dara Cameron who truly gets to show off her vocal range in this role. George Keating takes on the role as the narrator, the King’s aide and at the end of the play, takes on the role of question and answer host with the audience members. This is a fun part of attending as the audience learns a great deal about what it takes to make a show work.                                      

The rest of the cast is; Susan Moniz as The Fairy GodMother and Stephen Schellhardt,Jameson Cooper and Alexandra Palkovic who take on many roles and show just how important ensemble members are in a musical production. As always, I take my grandkids to these productions so you can get an idea of what a child views on stage. Rebecca ( who is two) thiought this was a Disney production and wanted to know why Mickey wasn’t there, but she loved the play and was held captive audience for the one hour version. Sarah, who is almost five, loved the carriage to the ball and went from being in rags to a beautiful gown. She also loved the dancing with the prince.

The beauty of these hour long shows is that kids attention spans can handle this amount of story time and the music and dance keep their interest.Nancy Missimi’s costumes were fabulous and Cassy Schillo’s property design along with the great lighting by Jesse Klug and Greg Hoffman as to the magic on stage. This is a theater -in-the-round so there are very few set pieces allowing the audience to never have blocked views. They also have to work within the parameters of the main stage play ( “My One and Only”) which works fine.One of the most memorable songs in this play is “Impossible to Possible” and the other memorable one is “Do I Love You Because you’re Beautiful,?Or Are You Beautiful Because I Love You” done to perfection by Ms Cameron and Mr. Bohr under the musical supervision of Patti Garwood.

“Cinderella’ will continue at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire through December 31st with performances as follows:

Tuesdays thru Saturdays at 10 a.m. and some extra performances at 12:30 p.m.. Check www.MarriottTheatre.com

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office, online and by phone at 847-634-0200

Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive on the Lincolnshire resort ( just East of Milwaukee Avenue and South of Half Day Road with plenty of free parking.

To see more, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up and click on “Cinderella”


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