Hi 77 / Lo 59
|Volume 68, Issue 112,
Monday, March 17, 2003
Arts & Entertainment
Cinderella enchants audience
By Cheryl Stell
In the Houston Balletis Ben Stevensonis flagship production of Cinderella, the cherished and romantic fairy tale comes to life with Stevensonis whimsical choreography and grand sense of humor set to Serge Prokofievis (1891-1953) magical music score. Regal sets and beautiful costumes done in an array of colors make the production absolutely breathtaking.
In approximately two hours and twenty minutes this lavish production of Cinderella hits all the crucial elements of the original story. They are wonderfully brought to stage in three acts with two 20-minute intermissions.
The productionis whimsy takes off right away with the wicked stepmother center stage embroidering a scarf she plans to wear to the palace ball later in the evening, while the two nasty stepsisters tease their stepfather. Cinderella enters the room to curb her stepsisteris mischief, but they viciously turn their tactics on her. The cold stepmother demands for Cinderella to clean the room while the two ugly stepsisters continue their foolishness.
The palace ball is that evening so the stepsisters must get prepared. They are so horrid that a dressmaker, a wigmaker and even a dancing master arrive in attempts to make them tolerable. The stepmother and the two retched stepsisters leave for the ball and Cinderella is left in dismay until her fairy godmother arrives along with fairies to dance the four seasons for Cinderella.
Her arrival brings all the magic of the original story including the transformation of Cinderellais rags to a beautiful gown, the infamous glass slippers and the pumpkin and mice that become a fantasy coach with four gallant horses to take the Princeis eye candy to the ball. The production already had the crowd full of mercy for poor Cinderella and roaring with laughter at the two silly stepsisters many times and the show had just begun.
The curtain rises for Act II at the palace, and a jester greets all the guests including the two stepsisters who are up to their usual shenanigans. They have all the guestsi attention and soon draw the Princeis attention as well.
He gives them the opportunity to dance with him and they take the initiative to make fools of themselves. Just then Cinderella makes a grand entrance, she arrives and the prince is immediately smitten. She looks like a million bucks all dolled up in a pretty little package. The prince takes her hand and they dance the night away falling in love in each otheris arms.
Midnight arrives way to soon and Cinderella has no choice but to scurry off before her big night becomes a big disaster. She darts off leaving behind one of her glass slippers.
In Act III Cinderella is back in her kitchen while dancing around remembering her fantastic evening. She thinks that she must have been dreaming until to her amazement she finds the other glass slipper in her pocket.
Soon the Prince arrives in search of the foot that fits the glass slipper. The two stepsisters give it a go with no luck.
He is about to leave when the jester spots Cinderella. The prince offers her the slipper, but not before it's mate falls out of her pocket. He has found his sweetheart and asks for her hand in marriage. The fairy godmother transforms the shabby old kitchen into a magic glade, where Cinderella and her prince dance for their guests who acclaim their new princess.
On March 21 and 23 Mireille Hassenboehler will dance in the title role with Lucas Priolo debuting in the role of the prince. On March 22 Julie Gumbinner is set to dance the title role with Phillip Broomhead as the prince. For information visit www.houstonballet.org
Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas St.
The verdict: This show is wonderful, and a must see, especially since
it is Ben Stevensonis last season as the director of the Houston Ballet.
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