The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts for a performance of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA was all the tiaras adorning the heads of tiny princesses as they eagerly awaited the show.
Amidst the satin and sparkles, my own weary workday outfit felt decidedly less than magical; if you are attending, I highly recommend getting into the spirit of the night and throwing on something special, even if you don’t own a princess dress or sequins. Costumed or not, the pre-show excitement was contagious and my three dates and I (my mom, my mother-in-law, and my aunt-in-law) quickly found our seats and settled in for the show.
This version of Cinderella is billed as a contemporary take on the classic tale, and it delivered. For fans of the traditional story line, all the elements are there: the evil stepmother and two stepdaughters, the fairy godmother*, the pumpkin coach, the glass slippers, the ball, the kiss, the stroke of midnight… but for those that are no longer happy with the “she met a man and fell in love and lived happily ever after, the end” plot, the new Cinderella is concerned with making a difference in the world, being kind in the face of bullying, and learning that achieving her dreams is possible. No longer a passive peasant-soon-to-be-princess, she’s been transformed to a much more purposeful character. The prince’s role is different too – in previous versions he was a fairly one dimensional character, but in this version he’s searching for meaning in life and finding his way as he prepares to become king. Cinderella still meets her prince and falls in love, but getting married is no longer her prime objective; instead, the two tackle life’s challenges together. Maybe it is happily ever after, after all.
Although I appreciated the updated characters and story line, the performances were flawless, and the music was superb… the costume changes stole the show. So deft, so utterly delightful, it really did feel like magic. The cast received roaring approval and a standing ovation at the end of the night, and all ages, from the littlest to the oldest, left the theater with a happy glow. For me, it was a wonderful way to spend a couple hours with people I love. We laughed, we drank champagne, we ooo-ed and ah-ed… so much fun.
Here’s some more depth on the preparation for Cinderella and a bit of behind the scenes with the cast and crew: ‘Cinderella’ brings kindness, magic to Anchorage. And here’s a cool story about how a student in the Anchorage School District’s Gifted Mentorship program studied the technical side of musical theater with the tour’s production coordinator: Gifted Mentorship Give Student Rate Opportunity to Experience Broadway Theatre.
For future performances, there are two special activities planned for an already special event:
The Horse-Drawn Carriage Company is offering carriage rides from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28. Rides are 10 minutes and begin on Fifth Avenue near the Egan Center. Cost: $10 per person for Cinderella Carriage and $5 per person for White Carriage. Cash only. Sign up is in the PAC lobby (street level). First come, first served.
Q&A WITH DIRECTOR
Immediately following the Saturday matinee performance, join us for a Q&A with Cinderella tour director Gina Rattan. 20-30 minutes. Please wait until the house is clear before moving closer to the stage.
If you haven’t already, I highlight recommend getting tickets for a lovely night to remember. And don’t forget to wear your tiara!
*The fairy godmother was my favorite: she basically got to run around the forest in rags (i.e. comfy clothes) hanging out with friends, and then whenever she wanted to, could transform into a beautiful fairy and help people make their dreams come true. Plus, her voice was incredible!
Courtesy photo of Cinderella and her fairy godmother