Continues Enchanting the Audience

By Iride Aparicio

Photos by: © Carol Rosegg

PAIGE FAURE as Cinderella on her way to the ball
PAIGE FAURE as Cinderella on her way to the ball

SAN JOSÉ, CA.— We all  need a dream. We hope that our dream comes true as we strive for something that appears to be  impossible,  And because most of us are “fair people” we like “poetic justice,” stories in which the good person is rewarded and the evil person punished. But must of all, we want to believe in miracles. So, when miracles happen in front of our eyes, we love the story. And that was the reason why on its opening night, on March 2nd  the  BROADWAY SAN JOSÉ, a Nedelander Presentation, of RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’s  2013 Tony ® Award-winning “CINDERELLA”  received an standing ovation.

The story of CINDERELLA started as a folk tale dating back to l634, Pentamerone, a book written by GIAMBATTISTA BASILE. A few years later, in l697 , a similar story was published in Histories Ou Contes du Temps Passé (Histories on tales from the past) written by CHARLES PERRAULT, that later was reproduced in the BROTHERS GRIMM folk tale collection under the name Grimm’s Fairy Tales, published in l812. 

While the characters in the different versions are similar: a  rich widower with a daughter, who marries a widow with two daughters. Sadly, when the widower dies, his widow takes possession of his house and all his money, and makes his daughter their maid. The daughter suffers in silence until the day she meets the prince and, eventually, marries him.

The daughter’s name, however, changesd with the language in which the story was published: In French, it became Cendrillo; in Italian, Cerentola; in Spanish, Cenicienta;  in German Aschenputtel, and Zoluwhka in Russian, with Cinderella, as the world’s common name for the character. We should end the information by mentioning , that all these names have one thing in common, which is that they are  related to “ashes.” And that the reason is that in the stories, this orphan girl was "forced" by the merciless weather of the European winters, to sleep near the coal stove to keep warm. Because of it, she was always covered with ashes.

  The cast of Rogers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA
                The female cast of Rogers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA

In this production of CINDERELLA, everything, from the Lighting design (KENNETH POSNER) to the scenic design (ANNA LOUIZOS) to the costume design (WILLIAM  IVEY LONG) conveys the  surrealistic look of the printed pages in the fairy-tales books. There is poetry in the trees of the dense forest, which opens the show, and in each one of their blooming into pink flowers. There is magic in the little animals living inside their trunks.  In the inside of  Cinderella’s home, inside the ball room of the palace, and even in the white stairway where the glass slipper was left.  And in this production, special recognition ought to be given to costume designer LONG, for the "fantastic" way in which his costumes change, in seconds, from rags to elaborate ball gowns.

In writing the New book for the musical, with music written by RICHARD RODGERS and original book and lyrics by OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II,  DOUGLAS CARTER BEANE, the new book writer, gave  motivation to each one of  the characters and tri-dimensionality making seem more real: Most young women in the town long to marry the prince, including Cinderella, (PAIGE FAURE). Jean Michel, (DAVID ANDINO) a young student and a new character in the story, wants (from the Prince) to change the unfair laws because he wants to help the  poor people in the kingdom. He also wants to marry GABRIELLE, one of Cinderella’s step sisters. Gabrielle wants to marry Jean Michel. Charlotte (AYMEE GARCIA) her other step sister, wants a smaller foot so it could fit in the crystal slipper. Lord Pinklerton (ANTOINE SMITH) wants to continue using the King's ring to sign more laws that bring money to the kingdom but hurt the poor people.  And Topher, the Prince and future king, (ANDY HUNTINGTON JONES) tells us clearly in the song  “Who am I?” that he is getting tired of fighting and killing dragons and that before he is crowned king, he wants to put meaning into his life.

And it is the "magic" of Marie (KECIA LEWIS) CINDERELLA’s Godmother, that resolves all the problems when she makes Cinderella's dream come  true. With Cinderella, Topher, the future King, finds meaning in his life. Jean Michel find a wife in Gabrielle, and because of Elle, as the play calls Cinderella, he is elected to the Prime Minister  position that will allow him to help the people in the kingdom.

Marie, (KECIA LEWIS  and Cinderella (PAIGE FAURE)
       Marie, (KECIA LEWIS  and Cinderella (PAIGE FAURE)

The musical is well acted and the voices of the singers are wonderful. CINDERELLA’s  (FAURE) “In my own little corner” gave us a rendition sang with a lot of feeling. The singer timbre is crystalline in sound and she uses her insturment well. Topher’s (JONES)  “Do I love you because you are Beautiful” in the high tones of his mellow tenor’s  voice, stopped the show. Another show stopper was the comic song of Charlotte (GARCIA) accompanying herself at the piano.


At at the end of the story, all problems are resolved. With Marie (LEWIS) CINDERELLA’s Godmother’s magic touch, Elle  accomplished  the impossible. Yet, we have to remember that what stole the heart of the prince, was not the fact that her foot fit into the slipper, but her physical and inner beauty and her compassion. So when they talked, they fell in love. And they got married, in a beautiful Royal wedding, and they live happily ever after.

What do modern children think of the story? Wanting to find out CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL asked KATIE MAE SCHAEFER, 7, a little girl sitting next to us.

Katie Mae Shaefer   Photo  by Lisa ShaeferC.W.B. Did you like the story of CINDERELLA?

K.M.S.  Yes. I saw it in a movie before.

CWB: What did you like  in tonight's story?

K.M.S. What I like most is that the prince tried the slipper on every girl and it only fit Cinderella.

C.W.B. Did you notice anything that is different in this version of CINDERELLA from the movie version that you saw before?

K.M.S. Yes. She (Cinderella) picked up the glass slipper and then, the next time, she left the glass slipper there (on the palace's steps) on purpose.

C.W.B. What was your favorite scene in tonight’s show?

K.M.S. My favorite scene was when they got married and the prince sings about “my love coming home

Katie Mae Shaefer  Photo  by: Lisa Shaefer

C.W.B.  What do you think about this CINDERELLA?

K.M.S.  It is much better than the movie .

CINDERELLA will be shown at the San Jose Center of the Performing Arts until March 8. You con order your ticket at TICKETMASTER.COM or charge by phone: 800-982-ARTS