Fairy Tale Brought to Life ~ Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella ~ Musical Review


Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was a spectacular musical. In one word it can be described as magical! From the fantastic cast, to the beautiful set design, the catchy songs, and the stunning costumes, it was an overall success. Director Mark Brokaw brought the classic fairy tale to life, enchanting the audience with his creativity.  Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was inspired by the original book written by Oscar Hammerstein II, and based on a new updated version written by Douglas Carter Beane; both titled Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The imaginative lyrics of the musical are by Oscar Hammerstein II, accompanied by the music of Richard Rodgers. The beloved fairy-tale holds a special place in the hearts of many and has the ability to tug on the heartstrings of both young and old, making it the perfect show to be seen by all.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is currently being performed at the Broadway Theater in New York City, starring the famous Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher for a limited time. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was first introduced in 1957. It was originally written as a musical for television starring Julie Andrews and has been a sensation for over 50 years. It has been performed numerous times with various adaptations, the most recent being the 2013 Broadway debut featuring the altered story line written by Douglas Carter Beane (About). Beane gives the well known Cinderella tale an unexpected modern twist that captivates the audience as their favorite fairy-tale is rewritten before their eyes.
            Cinderella is a widely popular Disney princess movie. The basic story-line is that Cinderella is mistreated by her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. Cinderella is kind and her heart is pure so at the end of the play she marries the Prince and they live happily ever after. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella adaptation follows the same guidelines of the original story, however those who know the classic tale well, will be pleasantly surprised with the modernized elements of the script. The costumes, the set design, and the music, were all perfect and accurate portrayals of the original Cinderella. What made the show such a success in my mind were the subtle changes of the character’s backgrounds, the name changes, and a few unexpected plot twists that gave the Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella a unique perspective. An example that stands out is, the town is in despair, people have had their homes taken away, and poverty is widespread. The advisor conceals this information from the Prince and it is Ella who reveals the truth. The story-line is modernized and yet the beautiful costumes and the breathtaking scenery stay true to the original. It’s the best of both worlds; the classic elements we expect remain intact, while the modern elements are a breath of fresh air.
            I immensely enjoyed the Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella musical. All the elements of the show came together in perfect harmony and everyone involved in the production did a spectacular job. I was in love with the design choices made; it felt like being transported into a magical wonderland.  The costume design by William Ivey Long and the scenic design by Anna Louizos, were magnificent. The costumes portrayed the different personalities of the characters perfectly; they looked luxurious, and were well thought out. Ella started off wearing a white bonnet, a ragged looking dress, and a pair of ballet flats to represent her status as a poor maid, then for the ball Marie transformed the simple dress into a luxurious white ball gown complete with a pair of Venetian glass slippers. Something to note is that the costume changes were spectacular! They were done right on stage, in plain sight for the audience to see and it looked as if they were really magically altered. Ella’s dress was transformed in a split second leaving the audience in awe. The scenic design was stunning and extremely detailed. The musical started with the scene of the enchanted forest with trees spread out on the stage and a beautiful sunset in the back. Ella’s house was a charming hut crafted with extreme detail, down to the smoke escaping from the chimney. The iconic staircase that Ella runs down looked as if it was made out of real marble, and the town square looked as if was transported right from a charming small town. The choreography by Josh Rhodes was spectacular and made for an extremely enjoyable viewing experience. The dancers were synchronized, the dance moves looked amazing, and the stunts included were very exciting to watch. All the creative elements came together and made for a beautiful production, as if you were in the fairy-tale itself.
            Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella was a fantastic musical that I wholeheartedly recommend seeing if you are a fan of Disney classics. The show is produced spectacularly and audiences of all ages will find themselves smiling broadly and laughing out loud, right from the start. If you’re looking for a fun show to see with catchy music, a beautiful set design, and wonderful actors then Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella should be on top of your list!

Works Cited:
"About the Show." Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. Broadway Theater, Web. 14 May 2014.

Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times


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