Short and sweet, The 5th Avenue Theatre's sparkling production of Cinderella is a worthwhile expenditure for families of time and hard-earned entertainment dollars. The show highlights a fine cast and Rodgers & Hammerstein's lush, romantic music.
As Cinderella, Jennifer Paz is wistful, her inherent spunk squashed over and over again by her deliciously nasty stepmother (Suzanne Bouchard) and pair of truly awful stepsisters (Sarah Rudinoff and Nick Garrison in hilarious, effective drag).
The Prince, Brandon O'Neill, chafes at his role in exchanges with his parents (King Allen Fitzpatrick and Queen Cynthia Jones), who are very sure they know what's best for him -- and strikes a shrewd deal with them that culminates in the grand ball where Cinderella drops her glass slipper and prompts a kingdom-wide search. His friend and minder, Lionel the Royal Herald, is deftly played by the delightful Greg McCormick, who brings sly humor -- and tap-dancing skills -- to the role.
As the Fairy Godmother, Kendra Kassbaum isn't the sweet old lady made famous by the Disney movie. She's acerbic and a little weary of all this nonsense about dreams and true love, and she gives Cinderella a good talking-to before sending her off to the ball in a dazzling coach.
Costumes by Renato Balestra -- the stepsisters' outrageous getups, Cinderella's ingenue-perfect gowns, the female ball-goers' frothy party dresses-- are beautifully done, and the sets, props and special effects (including a huge shower of sparks as the Fairy Godmother works her transformative magic) take this production out of the realm of the ordinary.
Cinderella plays The 5th Avenue Theatre through Dec. 31 (no shows on Christmas Day). The show is rated G, and runs 2 hours, 10 minutes, but kids under 4 and babes in arms aren't admitted. Tickets are $29-$104.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion.