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State Theatre New Jersey

Review

A Timeless Inspirational Love Story

The transformative fairytale Cinderella came to life at State Theatre New Jersey on February 9. The Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway musical is currently on a national tour and the theater was packed.

Ella is a servant for her selfish stepmother whom she calls Madame. She is stuck with her following her father’s death. Her father was rich and Madame explicitly tells Ella she married him for his money. Madame has two daughters and they have not fallen far from the mean-spirited apple tree.   

She is mocked by her stepmother and called Cinderella for the fireplace cinders she cleans.   Prince Topher is giving a Ball at the palace and Cinderella sings “In my Own Little Corner” as she dreams of an exciting life.  Her sisters prepare for the event in the hopes of meeting the prince. Like all the other young women, they want to be princesses.

The elegantly designed costumes, magnificent scenery, and the orchestra illuminated the fairytale. Based on the French version of the story, the town is anonymous. This anonymity adds to the story’s magical message that transformation can happen anywhere, anytime. And it happens for Cinderella when "crazy" Marie turns into a Fairy Godmother right before our eyes—in an instant. She tells her that when she was Marie Cinderella showed her charity, generosity, and kindness. She hands an invitation to the Ball to her and adorns her in a beautiful gown and Venetian glass slippers. They sing the duet “Impossible” which segues to “It’s Possible” and the pumpkin becomes a carriage and the mice become coachmen. She is swept away to the palace.  

The ballroom is packed and the prince isn’t interested in any of the women until he sets his eyes on Cinderella as she makes a glittering entrance. The attendees are playing the game Ridicule, poking fun at each other and when it’s Cinderella’s turn she only says nice things.  Everyone is shocked and she’s seen as an outcast, but her niceties inspire the others, and the prince tells her he feels like he knows her. She tells him the kingdom is taking land away from the poor and he needs to do something. Nobody recognizes her, not even her step-sisters. She runs from the palace, leaving her glass slipper behind.

Back at the cottage her step sister Gabrielle is on to Cinderella and confesses she loves Jean Michel who is fighting for the poor and not likely to be a suitor in her mother’s eyes.  Cinderella confesses that it was her at the ball. Topher is on a hunt to the find the woman who owns the shoe and many line up to try it on, but it is Cinderella dressed in servant clothes that it fits! Topher and Cinderella sing “Do I Love you Because You’re Beautiful?”   They soon marry and live happily ever after.

This musical was outstanding with beautiful costumes and scenery and a talented cast and orchestra. It's a timeless message of charity, generosity, and kindness; a shoe that can fit anyone of us.

By Elizabeth C. Millar

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