RLT’s “Cinderella” Is a Zany Musical Comedy Based on the Familiar French Fairy Tale by Charles Perrault

"Cinderella" will run Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 on Raleigh Little Theatre's main stage
"Cinderella" will run Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 on Raleigh Little Theatre's main stage

"Cinderella" will run Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 on Raleigh Little Theatre's main stage
"Cinderella" will run Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 on Raleigh Little Theatre's main stage

Raleigh Little Theatre will present its gala 28th annual production of Cinderella on Dec. 9-11 and 15-18 in its Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. Director Haskell Fitz-Simons, who has directed all 27 previous RLT productions of Cinderella, will team up with new choreographer Leah Landau and veteran Cinderella musical director Julie Florin to stage this delightful musical comedy, which features music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy and a book and lyrics by Eiler, based on the familiar French fairy tale by Charles Perrault (1628-1703).

The 2011 edition of Cinderella stars Kelly Francis as Cinderella, Sandi Sullivan as her Fairy Godmother, Robert Steinberg as Prince Charming, Rose Martin Higgins as Cinderella’s evil Stepmama, and M. Dennis Poole and Tim Cherry — in glorious drag, complete with yarn wigs — as Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters Gertrude and Henrietta.

Other Cinderella “principals” include: Clint Lienau and Mark Taranto as Fairy Godmother’s Helpers; David Adams as King Darling; Chase Allen as the Young Prince; and Jessica McGee and Kaylin Roberson as Pages. The mice whom the Fairy Godmother transforms into ponies to pull Cinderella’s carriage include Lauren-Taylor Carrillo, Griffin Cece, Alexandra Merz, Madison Mitchell, Courtney Pring, and Max Sharpe.

The men’s ensemble includes Ryan Bliss, Jerry Brown, Christopher Cameron, Danny Dove, Robert Furmage, Elisha Garcia, Lee King, and Misha Nikitine; and the women’s ensemble includes Amy Berenson, Lela Johnston, Lydia Kinton, Lauren Parker, Morgan Piner, Emily Schmid, Heather Shinpaugh, and Jillian Varner.

Director Haskell Fitz-Simons notes, “We have a returning Cinderella alumna in the role of Cinderella. She was Kelly Carruth, and now she’s Kelly Francis. She appears courtesy of Actor’s Equity, and she’s wonderful.”

He adds, “Sandi Sullivan is back as the Fairy Godmother. She’s been away for a number of years, and her glamour and her talents are nice to have….

“We have a new King Darling (David Adams), a new Prince Charming (Robert Steinberg, who was one of Fairy Godmother’s Helpers last year), and two new Helpers for Fairy Godmother (Clint Lienau and Mark Taranto),” Fitz-Simons says.

Ugly Stepsisters Henrietta (Timothy Cherry) and Gertrude (M. Dennis Poole) will get a "makeover" in 2011 (photo by Stuart Wagner)
Ugly Stepsisters Henrietta (Timothy Cherry) and Gertrude (M. Dennis Poole) will get a "makeover" in 2011 (photo by Stuart Wagner)

In addition to director Haskell Fitz-Simons, choreographer Leah Landau, and musical director Julie Florin, the Raleigh Little Theatre creative team for the 28th edition of Cinderella includes assistant to the director Adrienne Dyson, technical director Jim Zervas, lighting designer Cailen Waddell, costume designer Vicki Olson, sound designer Todd Houseknecht, and stage manager Mike McGee. Former RLT set designers Bill Rodgers and Rick Young created most of the show’s storybook scenery. But this year there will be added scenic elements by Thomas Mauney.

Director Haskell Fitz-Simons admits that that Cinderella has some new scenic elements this year, but he’s cagey about what they are. All he will say is: “The story has opened up a little bit, in the cinematic sense….

“[Costume designer] Vicki Olson has totally redone her vision of the Stepsisters and Stepmama, and their costumes have to be seen to be believed,” claims Fitz-Simons.

He adds, “I don’t think we have any new music of any significance. We always add little snips and snaps. For example, the mouse’s song is back in this year…. [Musical director] Julie [Florin] and I wrote a little song for those talented youngsters who have to sing at auditions, and don’t get to sing a lot during the show. This song is as cute as a bug.”

Cinderella director Haskell Fitz-Simons says, “We have lucked into getting two bona fide ballet dancers (Elisha Garcia and Misha Nikitine), and they have spiced up the ensemble. So, our battle of the hobby horses is a good deal more exciting than it has been [in previous years].”

Raleigh Little Theatre presents CINDERELLA at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16, and 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18 in RLT‘s Cantey V. Sutton Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.


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

SHOW: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows/11-12/cinderella28.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.


Cinderella (background): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella (Wikipedia).

Cinderella (e-texts): http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510a.html (from D. L. Ashliman’s folk texts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology).


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 preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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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).