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Cinderella…After the Ball –

Cinderella…After the Ball –
Dara Cameron

Dara Cameron

The customary conclusion of most classic fairytales traditionally reads, “and they all lived happily ever after,” but what does that really look like? The charming new Marriott’s Theatre for Young Audiences production of Cinderella…After the Ball hopes to shed light on that very question. Directed by Scott Weinstein, this troupe of classic childhood characters are brought to life to navigate a challenging and ever changing political landscape, while singing some really endearing songs, chocked full of valuable life lessons.  With original book and lyrics by Eddie Sugarman and a score by Jihwan Kim, Cinderella…After the Ball expresses contemporary lessons about rescuing yourself and being your own story’s hero, and what child, or adult for that matter, couldn’t benefit from that?

Dara Cameron, Devin DeSantis

Dara Cameron, Devin DeSantis

Our story begins with a disenchanted Cinderella (Dara Cameron) wondering “is this all there is” to her happily ever after? Quickly tiring of a life of powder blue ball gowns and royalty lessons on the proper posture and correct hand wave, she laments, “just because the shoe fits, doesn’t mean I do.” Desperately looking for a friend, she believes she has found one in palace servant, Becky (Elizabeth Telford) a hard working, floor-scrubbing, woman a few stations below that of the Princess. When the King (Rob Than) dismisses the servant for daring to speak directly to the princess, Cinderella realizes she needs more than this “Royal Snot” to keep her company. Rendezvousing with gal pals, Sleeping Beauty (Samantha Pauly) a delightful blend of self-serving vanity and narcolepsy and tough-talking Rapunzel (Laura Savage) for coffee and sage advice, the trio of noblewomen are given a flyer questioning “Are you living Happily Ever After?” Intrigued, the trio join Becky and attend the rally. Pinocchio (Justin Brill) has turned into a tyrannical politician with plans to raise money to acquire a dragon and take over the village. The village, it seems, has fallen on hard times. The “Puss and Boots is at the vet with flees, the pig’s house is in foreclosure, Chicken little got bird flu and Bambi’s on a hunter’s wall.” Oh dear. He concludes his speech with the downtrodden catch phrase “If you don’t hope, you’re not disappointed.” Instantly recognized by the townsfolk, Cinderella soon finds herself a prisoner of Pinocchio.

Samantha Pauly, Dara Cameron, Laura Savage

Samantha Pauly, Dara Cameron, Laura Savage

Returning to the palace for help paying the ransom, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel are told “the kingdom does not negotiate with puppets.” Turning next to Prince Charming (Devin DeSantis) the lasses soon learn charm is all this prince has to offer. Suffering from an inferiority complex, due to the fact the gallant lad cannot fight, this hapless wannabe warrior is mostly comedic arm candy. Undeterred, the Princesses concoct a plan to rob the royal treasury and rescue their captive friend. Meanwhile, Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother (Anne Gunn) are now both prisoners, tied together and at the “end of my rope.” Realizing “running away doesn’t solve anything” Cinderella frees herself from her shackles and resolves it is up to her to rescue the kingdom. Unfortunately, at the same time,  Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty are paying her ransom and are taken prisoner. Pinocchio purchases himself a dragon for protection, but this particular dragon (Jeff Max) is more a musical theater aficionado then a menace. His “Dragon’s Tale” full scale kick-line brought nothing but smiles to an enchanted audience. Rescuing and reuniting with her friends, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel acknowledge “there is always a dragon, a witch, a step-mother…” and Cinderella exclaims “we have dragon’s to slay.”

Cinderella After the Ball

The Poster

Princesses to the rescue “we got this” was their triumphant battle cry as they struck an authoritative Charlie’s Angels pose most of the parents of the intended target audience would readily recognize. Disguised as Grogon’s Pest Control agents, the Princesses infiltrate Pinocchio’s lair under the guise of being termite exterminators. What wooden boy turned governmental oppressor wouldn’t let them in? Reminding Pinocchio, “when you hate, you hurt yourself most of all,” these Power(ful) Puff Girls or Wonder Women, as the case may be, defeat the bad guys and restore peace to the land. Super, girls. With a caveat of course, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel will be the new Ministers of Defense and Labor while the King will be just to all his citizens, regardless of their station in life. As for Cinderella and the Prince, they both agree “sometimes stories need rewritten” and elect to trade in their quickie wedding for a hopeful romantic dinner date.

Justin Brill

Justin Brill

Justin Brill

Justin Brill

Marriott’s Theatre for Young Audiences has a history of proven success. With over 75 productions under their belt, exposing over two million children to the magic of live theatre, Cinderella…After the Ball  triumphantly continues to carry that torch, this time with a trio of heroes of the feminine variety at the helm. Girl Power indeed, these spicy girls both amuse and enthuse. At the conclusion of the show, the cast takes questions from some of the kiddos in the audience, ranging from costuming and rehearsal schedules to requests for hugs and photos. Don’t worry, the princesses are in the lobby for photos after each show. Cinderella…After the Ball is highly entertaining, with intelligent lyrics and charming choreography. The holy trinity of Dara Cameron (currently featured in Sister Act, also playing at the Marriott Theater) Laura Savage and Samantha Pauly (wrapping up her starring role in Paramount’s Hairspray as Amber Von Tussle and soon to be understudy as Eva Peron in the Marriott’s Evita) are pure dynamite. A troika of talented women with fantastic voices merrily wrapped around this original and imaginative material. Weinstein could not ask for better cast. Before the clock strikes midnight, or in this show’s case, 10 am, make sure to get your tickets. No magic wand required.

Samantha Pauly, Dara Cameron, Laura Savage

Samantha Pauly, Dara Cameron, Laura Savage

Marriott’s Theater for Young Audiences presents Cinderella…After the Ball is currently playing through May 8, 2016.

Family

Stephen S. Best is currently a freelance writer for the Times Square Chronicles, covering the performing arts scene in the greater Chicagoland area. He has been a theater aficionado for years, attending his first live production, Annie, at the tender age of six. After graduating from Purdue University, Stephen honed his skills attending live theater, concerts and art installations in New York and Chicago. Stephen's keen eye and thorough appreciation for both theater patrons' time and entertainment dollar makes him a valuable asset and his recommendations key. Stephen currently lives in downtown Chicago.

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