The beloved classic fairy tale of a beleaguered maid who became a princess is coming to life on the stage as the Sierra Repertory Theatre performs Rodger and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia through Dec. 22.
"This show has such appeal for all ages," SRT Artistic Director Scott Viets said. "Kids will love the enchantment, but any grown-ups expecting a ‘kiddie show' are in for a real treat. There's a lot of humor for them, too."
Most everyone knows the story of the sweet and beautiful Cinderella, unjustly subjected to the taunts and torment of her mean stepsisters and her evil stepmother. Until that is, when magic intervenes on her behalf and her fairy godmother helps her charm the prince for a few magic hours at the ball.
"Who doesn't want this kind of magical, funny escape?" Viets asked. "You get these over-the-top characters who are completely ridiculous, and they're juxtaposed by Cinderella and the prince, who are quite real. We're rooting for them, and this Rodgers and Hammerstein version blends them so well."
Rodgers and Hammerstein originally created the show as a hugely popular television special, then adapted it later for the stage. The upbeat musical score has a pop feel and is filled with familiar favorites, including "Ten Minutes Ago," In My Own Little Corner" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful."
SRT Company Actor Samantha Bruce is Cinderella and Jake Delaney is Prince Charming. The two were paired up in SRT's season opening "Gypsy," with Bruce in the title role and Delaney as the dancer Tulsa. Viets said they're wonderful together and said Bruce shines in this latest role.
"The breadth of her work this year has been so impressive - from Gypsy Rose Lee to Julie Jordan in 'Carousel' and now this role - three completely different characterizations, all blessed with her gorgeous voice. Her Cinderella is going to be very unique - intelligent and complex."
Both main characters, Viets said, aren't what you might expect.
"This Cinderella is not looking to be rescued. She isn't sure what she wants, but she's sure there's more than what life has dealt her...and the prince knows he comes from privilege, but he's looking for inner happiness. Those are positive messages for young people."
As contrast, expect outrageous fun from the rest of the characters. Heather Orth, who played Mama Rose in SRT's "Gypsy" and Cousin Netty in "Carousel," takes a comic turn as the mean stepmother, and Jennylind Parris and Daniella Painton are her clueless daughters. Parris has been in several shows with Sierra Rep, including this fall's "I Love a Piano," and Painton is a newcomer to Sierra Rep.
Also back for a fun supporting role as the prince's loveable valet, Lionel, is Kenny Wade Marshall (SRT's "Guys and Dolls" and "The Big Bang"), Illeana Kirven reprising her role as the fairy godmother and SRT favorites Ron and Caitlin Randall as the King and Queen.
Completing the ensemble are Ashley Townsend, Ariel Neydavoud, Kayla Hart, Emily Gordon, Mike Fiore and Lucas Coleman.
Cinderella plays through Dec. 22 at the Fallon House Theatre. Most Thursday and Friday performances begin at 7 p.m., Saturday evening shows begin at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $26-$32 depending on the day of the performance. The show is rated G, suitable for ages 6 and up. Younger children may attend this show, but they must be mature enough to be a quiet audience member.
For more information or reservations, call Sierra Rep's box office at 532-3120 or visit Sierra Rep at www.sierrarep.org.