“Cinderella” Sparkles at RLT

"Cinderella" 2009 cast (find Cinderella -- she is hidden by a bunch of hams!)
"Cinderella" 2009 cast (find Cinderella -- she is hidden by a bunch of hams!)

"Cinderella" 2009 cast (find Cinderella -- she is hidden by a bunch of hams!)
"Cinderella" 2009 cast (find Cinderella -- she is hidden by a bunch of hams!)

As in past years, Raleigh Little Theatre’s 27th annual presentation of the Prince Street Players, Ltd.’s musical version of Cinderella, an English pantomime with music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy and a book and lyrics by Eiler, based on French author Charles Perrault’s familiar fairy tale, also features additional music and lyrics by Nancy Whelan, Suann A. Strickland, RLT director Haskell Fitz-Simons, and Julie A. Florin. But unlike previous production that were staged downtown in the 600-seat A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Cinderella 27 is running in RLT‘s 300-seat Cantey V. Sutton Theatre in west Raleigh.

The result is a more intimate take on this timeless love story that stars Hailey Best as Cinderella and Pelham Jacobs as Prince Charming. They make a handsome pair, and they sing superbly. But once director Haskell Fitz-Simons sends in the clowns, the beautiful but bedraggled scullery maid Cinderella and her handsome Prince get royally upstaged.

This year, N.C. State University junior Jillian Varner is a hoot as Cinderella’s frolicsome Fairy Godmother, Rose Martin Higgins is a hilarious Queen of Mean as Cinderella’s dastardly Stepmama, Jason Cooper and Robert Steinberg provoke guffaws as Fairy Godmother’s eager but often inept Helpers, and Warren Keyes adds a frisky comic cameo as the kingdom’s resident dirty old man, nearsighted King Darling III. But — as in past years — it is M. Dennis Poole and Tim Cherry — in hideous drag, with horrible yarn wigs — who steal the show with their outrageous antics as Cinderella’s butt-ugly stepsisters Gertrude and Henrietta.

The venue may be a fraction of the size, but director Haskell Fitz-Simons, choreographer Missy Dapper, and music director Julie Florin make sure that the 2010 edition of Cinderella always has a smile on its face and a bounce in its step. With its storybook set by scenic designers Bill Rodgers and Rick Young and colorful fairy-tale togs by costume designer Vicki Olson, Cinderella is a visual feast. Musical director Julie Florin and choreographer Missy Dapper and an effervescent cast, under the direction of Haskell Fitz-Simons, put a little extra spring in their step for this year’s installment of Cinderella. And a good time was had by children of all ages.

SECOND OPINION: Dec. 16th Raleigh, NC Classical Voice of North Carolina review by Spencer Powell: http://cvnc.org/reviews/2010/122010/RLT.html; and Dec. 15th Triangle Arts & Entertainment review by Susie Potter: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2010/12/raleigh-little-theatres-cinderella-is-the-perfect-childrens-show/. (To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Dec. 10th Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2010/12/is-bringing-cinderella-home/.)

Raleigh Little Theatre presents CINDERELLA at 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19 in RLT‘s Cantey V. Sutton Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $25.

BOX OFFICE: 919/821-3111 or http://www.etix.com/.

SHOW: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows/10-11/cinderella27.html.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.raleighlittletheatre.org/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/about/map-directions.html.

NOTE: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices are available for all shows.

OTHER LINKS:

Cinderella: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella (Wikipedia) and http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510a.html (from D. L. Ashliman’s folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).