Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
The Cinderella story has been told many times, including the recent big screen non-musical Disney adaptation. This version is a clever reimagining of the Rodgers and Hammerstein version shown on TV in 1957, adapted by Douglas Carter Beane based on French author Charles Perrault's original interpretation. The playwright dispenses with the prince's parents but introduces a wicked regent who attempts to buffer the prince from the economic strain on his subjects. Cinderella does not lose her slipper after the first act and the second act does not offer the meager plot of the prince searching for the slipper's owner, but something entirely different. There is a subplot involving one of the stepsisters and a revolutionary for the poor in the kingdom. It turns out she is sympathetic to Cinderella's plight.
Kaitlyn Davidson is captivating as Cinderella. She has a wonderful soprano voice that is clear and crisp. Andy Huntington Jones with his dynamic voice gives a perfect performance as the prince, called Topher. The chemistry between the two is touching but never sugary. It's all captured poignantly in their duet "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful." Lauren Sprague as the fairy godmother Marie is outstanding. She gives a wonderful performance with her richly textured alto voice.
Kimberly Faure as the nice stepsister Gabrielle and David Andino as the radical Jean-Michelle are excellent in their roles, providing comic relief in the two and half hour production. Chauncey Packer as the evil regent, Blair Ross as the malicious stepmother, and Lulu Picart as the other evil stepsister give splendid performances.
The gowns by William Ivey Long are stunning, and Anna Louizos has devised some wonderful quick-assembly story sets. Josh Rhodes' dances are very energetic. His "Ten Minutes Ago" waltz is an absolute charm. Mark Brokaw's direction is impeccable and the large ensemble is more than a living backdrop for the magic on stage.
Cinderella is a magical experience with impressive singing to the lovely Rodgers and Hammerstein score and dazzling costumes and sets.
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella plays through May 8th, 2016, at SHN Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets go to www.shnsf.com. For more information on the tour, visit cinderellaonbroadway.com, though this appears to be the tour's final stop.