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This Shoe Fits Minneapolis

Hennepin Theatre Trust brings Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella to the Orpheum

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What do you get when you cross a nice prince, a fairy Godmother, a poor maid, and a lot of luck? The answer is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, of course! In town through its opening on September 8th to closing on September 13th, Cinderella is the perfect show for young and not-so-young Disney fans alike. Smooth set changes, on stage costume transformations, and graceful dance numbers make Cinderella a must see for all knights and peasants.

The first sound from the ensemble was from offstage. Cinderella (Paige Faure) joined in on a few notes of the opening number from onstage while the beautiful blend of the ensemble rang throughout the theater. The chorus had just a touch more of the soprano part at the end of songs, which made the song feel complete. At some productions, it seems that the words of the chorus get lost because they are trying to sing loud enough. This was not the case in Cinderella. Both when leads were singing and not singing, all parts were understandable. Whether that was the sound board operator or the actors is up for interpretation, but most of the time it’s great teamwork between the two. Faure’s tender voice added to the shy mannerisms of Cinderella, but she was still confident in her singing. The male lead of Topher (Andy Huntington Jones) had a masculine and confident voice to support his character without sounding like a snob. Where would Ella be without her animal friends? The fox and raccoon puppets inside of the trees were adorable but not too cheesy. The gracefulness of dancing was also notable when they turned into humans. Overall, chorus members of this production stood out the most.

Walking into the woodland set with a magenta background invites attendees to go “Into the Woods” for a journey. The welcoming set was only the beginning of magnificent technical elements. Little did the audience know that such an intricate set could move so quickly from a wooded forest to a castle in a matter of seconds. Often there would be dancers occupying the audience’s vision while the set silently changed in the background. On the subject of changing, Cinderella’s Godmother changes Ella’s dress for the ball from rags to riches in the movie, but it’s an entire new can of pumpkin to do it live onstage. Somehow they did it, and the audience was truly amazed. Once she was in her beautiful white gown, soft blue lighting on the dress made it sparkle brilliantly. The Fairy Godmother (Liz McCartney) also was suspended from the ceiling more than once, with a harness on underneath her costume. Fog added an element to the show when Cinderella was on her way to the ball. At times the orchestra was a little too loud, but other than that the sound and microphones were perfect. Technical elements stood out from other productions because of the variety of special practices.

Cinderella was a wonderful with such strong, unique technical elements and a rock solid chorus. The glass slipper fit into the hearts of viewers within the first minutes. Ella is a quality show with lessons in forgiveness, determination, and having faith in yourself and those around you.

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