On Nov. 19 The HotZone was front and center at the Broadway Theatre to watch “Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s Cinderella”. Originally Cinderella was aired by CBS featuring Julie Andrews in 1957, which was highly successful. TV remakes in 1965 featuring Lesley Ann Warren and in 1997 starring Brandy and Whitney Houston were also successful.
Mark Brokaw directs the musical. Josh Rhodes is choreographer. Music adaptation, supervision and arrangements are by David Chase. Orchestrations are by Danny Troob. Constantine Kitsopoulos is currently music director and conductor. The Broadway “Cinderella” differs from the two TV versions but the differences add to the magic and fun of this show. The show included today’s culture and comedy along with the original songs and flare. The show has been retooled many times for both television and stage.
Douglas Carter Beane is the author for the latest “Cinderella” book, after the original written by Hammerstein. Beane’s resume includes “Xanadu”, “Lysistrata Jones”, and “Sister Act”. Beane has written the new dialogue with some fresh sass and snark without pushing the envelope too hard. But the addition of the “Democracy for Dummies” plot that popped into Cinderella’s world was added merely to slow down the story.
Take one last trip to the ball to check out Keke Palmer and Sherri Shepherd in their Broadway debuts in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. KeKe Palmer is marking a transition from film and television with a Broadway debut. Palmer is marking this transition with a Broadway debut as the most classical character the New York stage can offer. Palmer’s Cinderella, however, falls a little short. It seemed as though she was stuck between being a women and being a young girl. Palmer works hard on covering up her southern draw by speaking in a high, nasally voice that doesn’t suit Cinderella’s character well. The singing was in tune; Palmer carried her vocals on throughout the show in a pleasant way.
Comedian Sherri Shepherd debuts as Cinderella’s evil stepmother “Madame”, a role Shepherd does well with. In the show she plays a faux-aristocracy character, who is caught up in riches. Shepherd’s humor fits best with her role as Madame. Two-time Tony Award winner Judy Kaye is the newest fairy godmother “ Crazy Marie”, who blew the crowd away as she came down from the ceiling singing a revision of “Impossible”. Lastly, we cannot forget the stepsisters who made the crowd laugh and the oh so “Charming” prince did an exceptional job.
Overall the glorious Rodgers and Hammerstein music and lyrics played well on the Broadway Theatre stage. The choreography was beautiful and the orchestra was superb. The lights were colorful and the sets were beautifully crafted. This show is still a must see for all the little prince’s and princesses to see. I would give this show a 3.5 out of 5.
See what KeKe Palmer had to say about her playing the role of Cinderella below: