The First National Tour of the award-winning 2013 Broadway production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will play the eight enchanted evening and matinee performances on Nov. 18-13 at the Durham Performing Arts Center, in the American Tobacco Historic District of downtown Durham. Originally written for CBS by composer Richard Rodgers (1902-79) and lyricist and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), the television version of this fairy-tale musical premiered on March 31, 1957, with Julie Andrews in the title role, Edith Adams as her Fairy Godmother, and Jon Cypher as the Prince whom Cinderella beguiles.
Various stage productions of Cinderella have ensued, starting at the London Coliseum in December 1958; but it was not until New York City playwright and screenwriter Douglas Carter Beane penned a new book that Cinderella finally made its Broadway debut on March 3, 2013 at the Broadway Theatre, under the direction of Mark Brokaw and featuring chorography by Josh Rhodes.
The show’s belated Broadway premiere earned nine 2013 Tony Award® nominations, including nominations for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Book of a Musical (Douglas Carter Beane), and North Carolina native William Ivey Long won the 2013 Tony for Best Costume Design of a Musical.
“Douglas Carter Beane made the book a little more accessible for contemporary audiences,” says 25-year-old Boston, MA native Andy Jones, who understudied Topher in the original Broadway company of Cinderella and plays the Prince on tour opposite Paige Faure as Cinderella. He adds, “[Beane] pulled scenes from earlier French versions of the story.” (The familiar European folk tale by French author Charles Perrault [1628-1703], entitled Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre [Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper], was first published in 1697. For many, many other versions of the story, click here.)
Andy Jones adds, “Instead of falling in love with Cinderella because she’s had a ‘makeover,’ [Douglas Carter Beane’s version of the story has Topher fall] in love with her because she shows him something about himself through her kindness. That’s the biggest message of the shoew — that you can change the world through kindness….
“The princes in past versions of Cinderella have been archetypes and figureheads,” claims Jones, who earned a BFA in musical theater in 2011 from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “This prince has been humanized in a way he’s never been before. Prince Topher [– which is short for Christopher –] is about to take over the kindom. His parents have been out of the picture for many, many years, and he … is not equipped to govern effectively…. But with the kindness that Cinderella shows him, he gains the confidence to make positive changes in the kingdom.”
In addition to Andy Jones as Prince Topher and Paige Faure as Cinderella, the tour cast includes Beth Glover as Cinderella’s insufferably vain and domineering stepmother Madame; Aymee Garcia and Ashley Park and as her cruel stepsister Charotte and her initially condescending but ultimately sympathetic stepsister Gabrielle; Kecia Lewis as Cinderella’s all-wise and loving Fairy Godmother Marie; Blake Hammond as Topher’s power-hungry Lord Chancellor Sebastian; Antoine L. Smith as Sebastian’s second-in-command Lord Pinkleton; and David Andino as the penniless revolutionary Jean-Michel, with whom Gabrielle falls in love.
Director Mark Brokaw and choreographer John Rhodes are reprising their roles in the current National Tour, which commenced on Oct. 10, 2014 in the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI, and is currently scheduled to conclude on Aug. 9, 2015 at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC. The tour creative team also includes scenic designer Anna Louizos, lighting designer Kenneth Posner, costume designer William Ivey Long, sound designer Nevin Steinberg — all of whom repeat their roles the current Broadway production, which is scheduled to end on Jan. 3, 2015. The tour also features music adaptation, supervision, and arrangements by David Chase and orchestrations by Danny Troob, both of whom were also part of the show’s Broadway creative team.
“It’s exciting every night to feel the support of the audience as Prince Topher grows up and turns from a prince into a king,” admits Andy Jones. He adds, “That transformation comes about because his relationship with Cinderella spurs him on to become who he is meant to be.”
Jones says, “There are some Rodgers & Hammerstein songs in this production that people have not heard before. [They include ‘Me, Who Am I?,’ ‘Now Is the Time,’ and ‘There’s Music in You.’] They are songs that were cut from other Rodgers & Hammerstein productions that we have been able to fold into this script…,” which still includes such crowd favorites from the original television musical as “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” “Ten Minutes Ago,” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”
“It’s exciting to bring this inspiring story to people around the country,” says Andy Jones. “It’s very contemporary and very witty. People aren’t sure what to expect; but I think that audiences will be very, very pleased with Douglas Carter Beane’s storytelling.”
SECOND OPINION: Nov. 16th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview with Roy C. Dicks: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/15/4320853/broadway-on-tour-your-last-chance.html; Nov. 13th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/entertainment/x1918012947/A-Fairy-Godmother-whose-wish-came-true (Note: You must subscribe to read this article); and Nov. 10th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh interview with Andy Jones, conducted by Jeffrey Karasarides: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interviews-Andy-Jones-of-RODGERS-HAMMERSTEINS-CINDERELLA-National-Tour-20141110.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18-20, 8 p.m. Nov. 21, 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 22, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, NC 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS:$46.54-$167.48 (including fees).
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/806215.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20rEbtqnMcQ.
THE TOUR: http://www.cinderellaonbroadway.com/tour/.
TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://www.cinderellaonbroadway.com/castandcreative#creative.
SUNTRUST BROADWAY SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/suntrust-broadway-series.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the 8 p.m. Friday, Nov 21st, performance.
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1957 television musical): http://www.rnh.com/show/22/Cinderella (Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization) andhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_%28musical%29 (Wikipedia).
Richard Rodgers (New York City composer, 1902-79): http://www.rnh.com/bio/175/Rodgers-Richard (Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization bio), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=8323 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Rodgers (Wikipedia).
Oscar Hammerstein II (New York City lyricist and librettist, 1895-1960): http://www.rnh.com/bio/154/Hammerstein-II-Oscar (Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization bio), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=7965 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Hammerstein_II (Wikipedia).
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (2013 Broadway musical): http://cinderellaonbroadway.com/ (official Broadway website), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=493253 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_%282013_Broadway_production%29 (Wikipedia).
Douglas Carter Beane (New York City playwright and screenwriter): http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=407150 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Carter_Beane (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing email@example.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)