by Nia Anthony of Old Mill High School
The prince is giving a ball! Six hours before the stroke of midnight, magic begins on the stage of the Bryn Mawr School as the company takes us into the colorful, enchanted world of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
One of the oldest fairy tales in literature. Cinderella dates back to the Brothers Grimm stories in 1857 then was revised for families and made to animated film in 1957. There have been numerous individual takes on the tale since, but Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella dares to do the Impossible. Adapted in 2013 starring Laura Osnes as Ella opposite Santino Fontana, the Broadway production would go on to win a Tony Award for it’s stellar costume design and three Drama Desk awards as well as produce a cast album. The Rodgers and Hammerstein version has since been bringing magic to stages large and small.
When the scrim first rises the audience is immediately made aware of the ensembles beautiful blended harmonies in the Prologue. The ensemble melts into one legato voice and continues this throughout the entirety of the show. The ensemble brings a meaning to each word they sing. Allowing those viewing to truly believe in the storytelling of the show. The ensemble carries their intention numbers like “The Prince Is Giving A Ball”. In the highly comedic “Stepsister’s Lament” Mya Gary (Charlotte) showcases her comedic skills as she portrays a frustration in a rather unladylike way, the female ensemble backing her up with all their girl power support. In contrast, Owen Roughton and Daniel Wise (Lord Pinkleton and Lord Daniel) sang with brutish bass and acted with boyish charm in numbers like “The Prince Is Giving A Ball” and “Call To Arms”. Poe Doub (Sebastian) and Charlie Dietrick (Jean-Michel) both offer a sarcastic comic relief and inspire mischief in the production.
Charlie Niccolini (Prince Topher), first plays the Prince as a lovable and charming kid with some faults. Niccolini gives Prince Topher a king-like stage presence and an impactful character arc as the show continues, a dynamic offset to his opposite Mia Boydston (Ella). Boydston proves her vocals and technique to match Niccolini in numbers like “Ten Minutes Ago” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful”. Anna Murchie gives an enchanting performance as Marie, offering both comedy and delight to the stage. Anna Bakina was pleasant yet bold in her performance as Gabrielle, a direct contrast to Mason Philippe-Auguste’s modern take on the thorny Madame.
In tech, the running crew did a phenomenal job of running the constantly moving fly rail and moving set pieces seamlessly. Jessica Bryan and Aeven O’Donnell (props) kept all the props used and seen true to the time period and setting. Naomi Fotenos executed the projections shown in a creative way that models after the Broadway production itself.
“It’s Eight O’Clock And All Is Well”, as Bryn Mawr School rounds out the rest of their show and does the “Impossible” and remind audiences that the timeless Cinderella is worth experiencing time and time again.
The performance reviewed was from Thursday, 10/24/2019.
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