Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

January 30, 2018 Baltimore, MD, USA

Who: My high school bestie and I
What: Cinderella, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical fairy tale
When: November 2016
Where: The Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Why: Girls' night!

Cinderella national tour playbill Baltimore

Thoughts: A little history lesson: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella roots go back to 1957 when they first presented their made-for-TV musical starring Julie Andrews. It was so popular, it was remade in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren, and again in 1997 starring Brandy (the version most of you likely remember). This is the version that made it to the Broadway stage in 2013 before beginning a national tour, not the 1950 animated Disney film. I couldn't believe how many people left bad reviews of this production because of factors like "there was no Gus the mouse" or "her dress wasn't blue" (yes, those are real and plentiful, and head's up, if this were a Disney show, Disney would be sure to let you know. It's all about expectations)

This particular production kept the classic Rogers and Hammerstein score, but took the risk of modernizing the book which is where I think opinions differ so wildly. I felt that in this case, writers looked at several popular adaptations of the Cinderella story and wrapped them into the package ultimately presented to the audience. I could see bits of the original R&H show as well as details taken from other films like Ever After, Into the Woods, and even Disney's recent live action Cinderella film. This Cinderella was intelligent, kind, and even politically proactive. It's easy to see why audiences could be split: some people welcome a "feminist" heroine while others value the traditional story. Because the story in other ways was still a fluffy fairy tale requiring suspension of disbelief, I found the new aspects of the book brought balance to the show. I found the political aspect wasn't too preachy or heavy-handed as to be off-putting, so I was able to appreciate this new take on the story.

Overall, I found the show enjoyable, but perhaps not one I'd return to again and again. It's suitable for all ages (save a "scary" scene early on that might scare younger children) and I encourage viewers to go in with an open mind and no expectations—it's much more enjoyable when you're not expecting a carbon copy of a film it wasn't even based off of!

Have you seen Cinderella on the stage? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments, and enjoy the cast album here.

Read about other shows I've seen here.

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