Cinderella at Imagination Stage

Even if you are tired of the same, old Cinderella story you will love Imagination Stage’s interpretation of the classic tale. Imagination Stage manages to incorporate all of the elements that make Cinderella a timeless tale while introducing new twists that make it seem as though you are hearing the story for the first time sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next.
This version of Cinderella, of course, involves a ball where the Prince hopes to find a wife. But, in this version a new character, Wesley the Valet, is dead-set on stopping the Prince from getting married since the Prince will no longer require Wesley’s services once he finds his Princess. As part of Wesley’s plan to prevent the Prince from marrying on the day of the ball he leads the Prince away from the castle and the two find themselves at the cottage Cinderella shares with her evil step-mother and wicked step-sisters. Cinderella does not recognize the Prince and manages to disarm him of his sword using only her broom and her cunning. The Prince is enthralled with Cinderella’s intelligence and strength and invites her to the ball that evening. Cinderella is flattered that the Prince treats her with respect, but cannot go to the ball because she does not own any shoes. Soon, a sliver bird turns into Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, who gives Cinderella not only her much longed-for pair of shoes but a gown, pumpkin-coach, and driver. Yes, Cinderella and the Prince fall in love at the ball and she winds up leaving her shoe behind. But, it turns out that in this tale the shoe is a common size that fits many women in the Kingdom. The Prince is despondent. Meanwhile, Cinderella’s step-mother suspects that Cinderella was at the ball and is so mean she drives Cinderella out of the house. Before Cinderella can get very far she makes a stop at the Palace to retrieve her lost shoe. There, she does agree to marry the Prince as long as he agrees to her terms. With the Prince married, Wesley the Valet is no longer needed and winds up with the kind of wife he deserves.

This version of Cinderella has it all. The surprises begin with the casing where a man, Evan Casey, plays the wicked step-mother in drag with equal parts of hilarity and Mommy Nearest, complete with references to wire hangers. Cinderella is played expertly by Awa Sal Secka, who defies stereotypes by portraying Cinderella as an African American princess who is not a waif. The actors mix several original songs in throughout the play as well as questioning, with comic effect, key elements of the Cinderella story by doing things like examining the question of why the Fairy Godmother’s magic wears off at midnight and why Cinderella’s shoes don’t disappear once the magic ends.

Cinderella is truly a magical experience, enjoyable for kids and grown-ups alike. In this version, Cinderella is an admirable role model for girls. Although she loves pretty dresses, she is strong-willed, smart, and only agrees to a life with the Prince on her own terms. As for the Prince, he is a hard-working Royal who values tenacity and strength, shows respect for women, and agrees to an equal partnership with Cinderella in love and marriage.

Cinderella is the first show where Imagination Stage’s new lobby is open. Be sure to arrive early or plan to stay late to enjoy playtime with interactive exhibits related to Cinderella, including learning the Charleston performed by the wicked step-sisters in the show, designing costumes, building a castle, and more. Treats from Henry’s Sweet Retreat will also be available.

  • Recommended for ages 4+, although at the performance I saw younger children enjoyed the show
  • Runs through January 6, 2019
  • There is a sensory-friendly performance on December 16th at 11:00 am and an ASL interpreted performance on January 6th at 1:30 pm
  • Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased here.
  • Paper Dreams runs about 80 minutes
  • Parking is available at meters on the street or at the parking garage on the same block. Garage parking is free on weekends.
  • After the show extend your day by eating at one of the many kid-friendly restaurants within walking distance.

Jamie Davis Smith

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