|Devaune Bohall and Eric Bond|
Photo by Mark Gluckman
Click here for more information on this production that runs through December 13th.
"The classic fairy tale of "Cinderella" has spawned numerous film and theatrical adaptations. While the Disney animated film and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical are probably the two most well-known versions, Portland musician Ezra Weiss has crafted his own musical take on the tale. This version is what Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale is currently presenting and, while it won't erase the magic or memorable tunes from those two more popular adaptations, it does have a few fun modern updates and results in a charming take on the classic tale....Weiss still puts the main focus of the story on the relationship between Cinderella and the Prince and the Prince's efforts to find her once she is forced to leave the ball when midnight comes. But Weiss has the story told by the Prince's page Armando, who serves as a comical narrator, and makes the main aspiration for both Cinderella and the Prince their need to dance and find an appropriate dance partner—the possibility of marriage is just a happy added benefit that comes with finding that person....Weiss does a good job of combining the "let's put on a show" mentality of the Prince and Cinderella's love of performing and dancing with the classic fairy-tale story and in doing so finds a nifty way to combine the shared similarities of the two genres. However, most of Weiss' songs aren't that memorable. However, the repetitive "I Just Wanna Dance" has a catchy tune and the jazz influence in many of the songs is a benefit, as are the fun lyrics. The style of music also allows for plenty of tap dancing in the show. The cast are all having a fun time portraying their updated, modern characters. Devaune Bohall and Eric Bond are charming as Cinderella and Prince Bobby, both bringing a natural ease and determination to their parts. Stefan Linder is a joy as the suave Armando, and Kathleen Berger is appropriately sassy and direct as Cinderella's fairy godmother....Director and choreographer Hilary Hirsch keeps the energy high and the sappiness low and also instills a playfulness into the whole production. ...With a modern update, Ezra Weiss' Cinderella is a fresh take on the classic tale. While his score is only serviceable, he has crafted a quick-moving script with fun updated characters who show that simply fulfilling the desire to dance, and finding the right dance partner, is how one can live happily ever after. Theatre Artists Studio's production is a charming way to spend 90 minutes and will most likely be a welcome change to the familiar adaptations of the famous story, especially for younger fans of the fairy tale who know the Disney film by heart." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)