The bottom line
This magical, witty version of the Rodgers + Hammerstein musical by STG Presents, now playing at the Paramount Theatre, manages to be fresh and modern while preserving the best parts of the classic. Get tickets soon; it ends March 1!
The story of Cinderella has many iterations, from the Disney movie to Rodgers + Hammerstein’s classic musical with familiar songs such as “In My Own Little Corner” and “Ten Minutes Ago.” When I settled into my seat at the Paramount last night, I was prepared for another entertaining-yet-predictable production of Cinderella. I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh, witty and wonderfully entertaining this production was. My 5-year-old daughter was similarly enthralled.
Highlights include fantastical sets that bring to life scenes such as the forest around Cinderella’s home, where you’ll meet her delightfully wicked stepmom and entertaining stepsisters, and the clouds where Cinderella convenes with her fairy godmother to find her true love.
Paige Faure captures the character of Ella with a very real elegance. Destined to deal with a difficult home and bitter stepmom, she embodies the hopeful nature we expect from her character. But she's not just a fairy-tale princess. The romantic connection that eventually develops between Ella and Prince Christopher “Topher” has a depth that includes saddle-dirt smudges as well as sparkles, so parents will be happy to show their kids it’s not just about being pretty and getting that princely kiss.
Ella’s Stepmother Madame (Beth Glover) and her two stepsisters Charlotte and Gabrielle (Aymee Garcia and Kaitlyn Davidson, respectively) play their roles with solid comedic vengeance and a dash — surprisingly — of love. While Madame is pompous and Charlotte bubbles over with a lovable raunch, Gabrielle emits a softer side that includes a secret friendship with Ella and budding romance with Jean-Michel (David Andino), the kingdom’s political activist.
The rich family/romantic dynamics in the plot are catalyzed by a character named “Crazy” Marie (Kecia Lewis), the kingdom’s nutty miser. Dressed in what appears to be a leafy cloak of rubbish, Crazy Marie offers opportunities for Ella and Topher to extend their helping hands until she ultimately reveals herself to be someone quite different. Among other things, Marie uses her ample vocal talents to send the message to Ella that nothing is impossible.
A few particularly magical moments include the awesome costume transformations that happen right before the audience's eyes; and the woodland setting and ornate costumes that transport the audience to another world.
Should you take your kid?
Cinderella is recommended for ages 4 and older, and the show’s website states that that “children under the age of 4 will not be permitted into the theater.” It runs two hours and 25 minutes, which includes a 15-minute intermission. It’s an ideal first long performance for kids; see the production's study guide for full details. My 5-year-old daughter, whose attention span can be short, was enthralled throughout the entire performance.
Tip: Arrive early to snag a booster seat. If you have young kids, try to get an aisle seat so you can bolt to the bathroom at intermission before the line gets too long.
Don't miss your chance to take your child to peek into the orchesta pit during the intermission. They play wonderfully in this production.
If you go ...
When: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella plays through Sunday, March 1. See all show times here.
Where: The Paramount Theatre, Seattle
Snacks and eats: There is one 15-minute intermission with some snacks available in the lobby before the performance and at intermission (though it is hard to fit in a bathroom break and snag a snack). Your best bet is to grab food before the show.