Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Cinderella"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2006 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

North Shore Music Theatre's current production is "Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" which is the well know tale about glass slippers, ugly step-sisters, magic wands and a midnight curfew. Originally adapted for the stage from the television version starring Julie Andrews on March 31, 1956, updated from the 1965 TV version starring Lesley Ann Warren and once again in 1997 starring Brandy, this stage show never ceases to entertain people of all ages. Director Charles Repole turns the theatre into a magical world with his 21 adult and 11 children cast members. The show has excellent music direction by Edward Reichert and fantastic choreography by Karen Azenberg. The magic of the show captures the hearts of the audience with its timeless tale.

"Cinderella" returns to NSMT after their tragic fire closed it down last summer with a different director and some different cast members. The chorus excels in all their singing and especially in their expert dancing in "The Prince is Giving a Ball", "Your Majesties" ( where the chorus twirls around the stage with food and drink as well as doing somersaults), in the Transformation, ( where two mechanical rats whirl around the stage before two topnotch dancers, Andrew Pacho and Debbi Fuhrman change from Rats into the coachman and footman) in the Gavotte where the Prince dances with his suitors and in the grand waltz where the couples whirl about the stage. Deborah Lew is one of the best Cinderella's I have ever seen. Her acting, singing and dancing are fabulous. Her superb soprano voice soars in her many numbers including "In My Own Little Corner" where she describes all the exotic places she wishes to visit, "Impossible" and "Possible" which she sings with her Fairy Godmother where things look hopeless at first but eventually the magic wins the day for her, "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful" with the Prince and "When You're Driving Through The Moonlight" and "Lovely Night" with her family. Deborah entrances the audience with her talented portrayal of this well known heroine. Kudos on a job well done.

Ryan Silverman plays her Prince and his first song "Loneliness of Evening" shows off his tenor voice. This song was originally written for Mary Martin when Nellie reads the note from Emile to come back to him in "South Pacific". It describes his earning for a girl of his own while "Ten Minutes Ago" and "Do I Love You" describe his finding the girl of his dreams. Playing the King and Queen are David Coffee and Terry Burrell. He has many show stopping one liners as the food and beer loving monarch and is hilarious while her regal bearing shows everyone who is really boss in that castle. David and Terry have a lovely duet in Act 1 called "Boys and Girls Like You and Me" which was originally a love song for Curly and Laurey in Act 2 of "Oklahoma" before it was cut. Ryan and Terry also do a reprise of "Do I Love You" in Act 2 in the scene where Cinderella can't be found to try on the glass slipper.

The biggest scene stealer in this show is Lisa McMillian as the evil Stepmother. Her speaking voice sounds like Tallulah Bankhead while her evil behavior is like Cruella Deville from "1001 Dalmatians". Lisa's one liners drip with acid and she makes every joke count. She commands the stage in every scene she is in and wow, what an extension when she tries on the slipper. Her two ugly daughters, Joy and Portia are played by Joyce Chittick and Natalie Joy Johnson. Joy is a joyless girl with constant post nasal drip while Portia is a dumbell with a speech impediment. They get to do a comical dance with the Prince in the Gavotte scene and they get to strut their stuff in "The Stepsister's Lament". They also do an energetic dance with Lisa in "Lovely Night". The enchantment of the show wouldn't be possible without a fairy godmother. Maureen Brennan handles the role with ease and shows off her strong soprano voice in "Impossible" and "Possible" while waving her magic wand around the stage. So for some wonderful singing and dancing in a well known fairy tale, be sure to catch "Cinderella" at North Shore Music Theatre."

"Cinderella" (22 August - 10 September)
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA
1 (978) 232-7200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide