Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Cinderella"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"Cinderella"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Actors' Collaborative's latest production is Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Originally adapted for the stage from the television version starring Julie Andrews on March 31, 1957, updated from the 1965 TV version starring Lesley Ann Warren and once again in 1977, this show never ceases to entertain people of all ages. This show boasts some of the highest production values around not only in the acting, singing and dancing but in the spectacular sets, costumes, lighting and sound. Director Judy Post, musical director, Shannon Manley and choreographer, Marianne Lonati lead the 32 cast members in this joyful musical fairytale pleasing a very appreciative audience with their rendition.

Judy casts this show very well especially the leading players. She keeps things moving from one scene to another seamlessly with backdrops and set pieces designed by Dan Kozar who also supplies the numerous, gorgeous costumes from peasant wear to the royal robes, all simply fabulous. Shannon directs her 15 piece orchestra and taught all the songs to the cast including the poignant "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful" (which brought tears to my eyes) She creates splendid work with both and always delivers the goods with her hard work. Marianne's dance numbers will leave you breathless with thier excellence. She takes these enormous cast members and whips them into dancing marvels including the "Gavotte" and the "Waltz for a Ball". The lighting by Mike Teixeira creates the necessary magical glow to pull off the fairytale atmosphere while the sound by Mike Hyde is expertly done without any feedback at all. Kudos to all who pulled off this splendid work.

Leading the cast as Cinderella is Nicole DaCosta who shows off her gorgeous soprano voice in various numbers including "In My Own Little Corner" where she spins tales of her various trips and wishes to travel to foreign places while stuck sitting by the chimney, "Impossible" and "Possible" with her Fairy Godmother, the two love songs with the Prince and "A Lovely Night" with her stepfamily. She also shows off her strong acting and dancing abilities in the role by captivating the audience. Playing her Prince is Tony Wakim who sings the sorrowful "Lonliness of Evening" (originally written for "South Pacific") the joyous waltz, "Ten Minutes Ago" and the ballad of love, "Do I Love You" where his voices soars in exuberance at finding a girl at last. He displays his comic side when he has to dance with the wicked stepsisters.

The King and Queen are played wonderfully by Chris DiOrio and Kristen Almechatt. Chris plays this food loving monarch with the right kind of bawdiness to invoke laughter while Kristen plays the regal dame of the country who really runs things. They show off their strong tenor and soprano voices in "Your Majesties" and "Boys and Girls Like You and Me" ( originally written for Curley and Laurey in "Oklahoma") Kristen also gets to sing the reprise of "Do I Love You" with the Prince when he yearning for his lost love. The fairy Godmother who makes all the magical things happen for Cinderella is played by Alyce Hagopian. Her many tricks bring enjoyment to the crowd including when she transforms the pumpkin into a carriage, moves a chair, walks through a wall and lights a fire under the teakettle. Alyce brings a flair to the role with her acting ability and shows off her voice in her two songs with Cinderella. Her charm shines through in this role and endears her to the audience.

The two biggest scene stealers in this show are the wicked stepsisters, Portia and Joy played by Atia Gravely and Madelyn Frascella. They are a hoot as the dumb and joyless stepsisters who try to entice the prince with their lack of charm. Their antics are priceless and their song, "Stepsister's Lament" is hilarious. Brava on a job well done. Their shrewish mother is played beautifully by Amanda Hammond-South who shouts orders at Cinderella constantly and belittles everything she does. The Herald is played by Jeffrey Swaebe who gets to show off his singing voice in "The Prince is Having A Ball". The other 23 cast members including six children do a great job in many and numerous roles and scenes throughout the show. (Cathy Corcoran is a scream as a man hungry woman in the opening and glass slipper scenes.)

So for a fun filled evening of musical enchantment, be sure to see "Cinderella" before she disappears from the Orpheum in Foxboro.

"Cinderella" (17 April - 1 May)
ACTORS COLLABORATIVE
Orpheum Theatre, 1 School Street, Foxboro, MA
1 (508) 543-ARTS o

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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