BRING YOUR CHILDREN! I don’t mean to shout, but I wanted to highlight this point. Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella musical is not the Disney version nor the Rodgers and Hammerstein version. It is in the style of British Panto or Pantomime, a style of interactive theater typically using a familiar fairy tale and generally performed during the Christmas season. It is based on the Charles Perrault fairy tale, with book and lyrics by Jim Eiler and music by Jeanne Bargy
Friday night, RLT‘s Cinderella ran a tight 75 minutes, with no intermission. There were plenty of young children in the audience, and I did not hear a peep or whine from any of them. Both the kiddies and adults enthusiastically participated in the interactive portions of the show.
The songs were funny, and the cast was very funny. My personal favorite characters were The Fairy Godmother (Emily Ennis), King Darling III (Benaiah Adesoji), and The Fairy Godmother’s two Helpers Ginger (Emily Spain) and Snap (Clare Vestal). This is not to lessen the strength of the other performances. The comedic writing for these four allowed them to delight the audience a bit more than the others.
The cast, particularly the ensemble, was made up by several young (teen and preteen) actors. It was here that the direction of Mike McGee shone through. If there were any serious mistakes or missed lines, I could not tell. It was obvious that the entire cast was well rehearsed. The choreography (Jess Barbour) and the singing (music director Joanna Li) was carried out well for such a young group of thespians.
This is where the “Bring Your Kids” thing comes in. Not only will your children see a high-quality show at their level, but they’ll also have close-up seats to see amazing costumes. Most of all, they will see performers not much older than themselves. I can think of no better way to introduce children to live theater.
I’m going to drop a bit of sociology in at this time, so if you don’t like preaching, skip to the next paragraph. This cast is remarkably diverse; but more noteworthy, much of the casting was against type with regards to the typical historical images of princes and princesses. That fact made this show better. Having children see that anyone can be a prince, or a heroine, or anything is a great talking point for after the show.
The venue required proof of vaccination and masks. Cleverly, this was well integrated into the show in a couple of very entertaining ways. Your kids will love this as well. This show will cost you a bit more than a movie, but the family experience will be worth it. BRING YOUR CHILDREN!
Jeanne Bargy and Jim Eiler’s CINDERELLA (In Person at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 2 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, and 2 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12, directed by Mike McGee and starring Melanie Payne as Cinderella, Isaiah McGuire as Prince Charming, Benaiah Adesoji as King Darling III, Leigh Howell as Stepmama, Emma K. Johnson as Henrietta, Rachel Veazey as Gertrude, Emily Ennis as Fairy Godmother, and Clare Vestal and Emily Spain as Fairy Godmother’s Helpers (Raleigh Little Theatre in its Cantey V. Sutton Theatre in Raleigh). SHOW: https://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows/cinderella/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/870995687075243. VIDEOS: http://www.youtube.com/user/raleighlittletheatre. RLT‘S 2021-22 SEASON: https://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows-and-events/. PRESENTER: https://raleighlittletheatre.org/, https://www.facebook.com/RaleighLittleTheatre, https://www.instagram.com/rlt1936/, https://twitter.com/RLT1936, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raleigh_Little_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/raleighlittletheatre. TICKETS: $26 opening weekend and $31 thereafter. Call 919-821-3111 or click here to buy tickets. VENUE: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/tickets/seating.html. MAPS/DIRECTIONS: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/about/map-directions.html. PARKING: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/about/parking.html. COVID-19 SAFETY PROCEDURES: https://raleighlittletheatre.org/reopening-rlt/. NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices are available for all shows. NOTE 2: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12th, performance. OTHER LINKS: Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper Cendrillon, or La petite Pantoufle de Verre (1697 French fairy tale): https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cinderella-folktale-heroine (Encyclopædia Britannica) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella (Wikipedia). Charles Perrault (French author, 1628-1703):https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Perrault (Encyclopædia Britannica) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Perrault (Wikipedia). Cinderella (e-texts of various versions of the fairy tale, as written by Charles Perrault and others):http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510a.html (from D. L. Ashliman’s folk texts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology). Cinderella (Prince Street Players Version):https://www.princestreetplayers.com/cinderella (Prince Street Players), https://www.mtishows.com/cinderella-prince-street-players-version (Music Theatre International), and http://www.guidetomusicaltheatre.com/shows_c/cinderella.htm (Guide to Musical Theatre). Jeanne Bargy (music):https://www.princestreetplayers.com/our-shows (Prince Street Players bio). Jim Eiler (music, lyrics, and book):https://www.princestreetplayers.com/our-shows (Prince Street Players bio).
Robert O’Connell is a playwright, and has had dozens of productions and awards throughout the world. He has a MS degree in Management Systems Analysis. A lifelong educator, O’Connell has also published three novels at http://www.flashmobthenovel.com/ and two humor anthologies from his blog, https://thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com/. He and his wife have settled in Cary, NC. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.