Little girls dressed in big Cinderella ball gowns may have been
slightly disappointed when watching the half-way there version of
this Disney princess story at the Emerald City Theatre company's
Water Tower Place production.
Instead of big fancy gowns, sparkles and an over-the-top ball,
this subdued Cinderella had calmer gowns, a timid set and a
depressingly empty ball. And while they stuck with the general
theme: Poor Cinderella wants to go to the ball to meet the prince
(Blake Reddick) while the evil stepsisters (dressed in drag)
prevent her from meeting her prince, the characters this time were
When the fairy Godmother turned the rat into a man, it's
explained that, "the only difference between rats and most men is
men's opposing thumbs." When the evil stepsisters (Tommy Bullington
and Mark Kosten) want to know who will clean up after them if
Cinderella (Missy Karle) leaves, it's explained that they should
marry and have their husbands do the housework.
A feminist take on the traditional fairytale would have been
interesting for the crowd of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds, but the
production didn't go beyond the scattered sarcastic comments that
confused the children and stopped the pace of the show for the
adults. The stepsisters panted like dogs whenever they glimpsed the
prince, while Cinderella couldn't go to the ball simply because she
lacked high heeled shoes.
The show had some nice musical interludes, which were sung
expertly, but the canned instruments were too loud and it was
difficult to hear the lyrics. During each song, the children
fidgeted, got up and started talking - and it was hard to blame
them. It was impossible to understand the ballads, and the music
Still, it wasn't a total fail. For the most part, the
mini-theatergoers appeared to enjoy the show - and even if they
didn't, the characters made up for it after the curtain rose when
they posed for pictures and signed autographs for the dazzled
Cinderella will be playing through Jan. 6 at the Broadway
Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut. Tickets are $16-$22. Call (800)
775-2000 or go online to Ticketmaster.com for tickets.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.
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