Whatever you are doing, stop right now, and get tickets to Cinderella: the Remix. If you have a daughter and you want to teach her that she can do anything boys can do, you need to see this play. If you have a son and you want to teach him that he does not not need to hide who he is deep down, even if that includes interests thought of as being for girls, you need to see this play. If you have a young child, tween, or teen you want to teach to stand up to injustice wherever he or she sees it, you need to see this play.
Cinderella lives with her evil step-mother and step-brother in Hip Hop Hollywood. She spends her days stuck in the basement doing household chores. Her only friend is Chin Chilla the chinchilla and the only thing she can do for fun is spin beats on her turntables with her brother’s record collection. When the hottest rapper in town, J Prince, needs a new DJ to spin beats at his jam, he looks far and wide across his “kingdom” for the perfect DJ. Cinderella desperately wants to audition. Even though she is the best DJ in town, she cannot try out for the spot, not just because her step-mother wants the gig for Cinderella’s step-brother, but also because girls in Hip Hop Hollywood are not allowed to DJ and never have been.
Chin Chilla convinces Cinderella to audition as a boy. This is an extremely risky move for Cinderella because the penalty for “frontin’,” or pretending to be something you’re not, is a year in jail. Knowing that getting to DJ for J Prince is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Cinderella disguises herself as a boy and gets the job. Disaster strikes when the night of the jam, Cinderella’s step-brother smashes her equipment and makes her clean and re-lace all of the family’s sneakers. Despondent, Cinderella is sure she will have to miss the jam when her fairy-godmother appears in the form of a famous talk-show host with a big personality named “Hoperah.”
Hoperah gives Cinderella new equipment and a fool-proof disguise. But, as you might expect, the equipment and disguise will only work until midnight. Cinderella, dressed in the boy-disguise given to her by Hoperah, blows away the crowd at the jam. When her equipment stops working she sneaks out leaving a single glove behind. J Prince needs his star DJ to spin for him at a big awards show the next night. He searches high and low for his star DJ by asking every man in town to try on the glove.
Cinderella almost gets the chance to see if the glove fits, but ultimately does not. With her step-mother, suspicious that Cinderella is the one J Prince is looking for, Cinderella makes the bold decision to appear at the awards show. After her first song she risks arrest by tearing off her boy disguise to reveal she is actually a girl. Then, with J Prince’s help Cinderella convinces the powers that be to change the laws to allow girls to DJ. Emboldened, Cinderella’s step-brother admits that he never liked being a DJ and that he has a “passion for fashion.” Knowing the truth, J Prince asks Cinderella to DJ for him on a regular basis. Not needing a Prince, Cinderella decides to strike out on her own to start her own record label with her step-brother on board as a stylist.
Throughout the play there are jokes, raps, and pop-cultural references. There is tons of audience participation from dancing in your seats, to clapping for Hoperah, to posing for selfies with J Prince. My daughter couldn’t stop showing off her “new moves” all night after seeing the play.
The play is recommended for children 5 to 10, but my 3.5 year old enjoyed the play immensely and I think older children through teens would enjoy it as well. Cinderella: The Remix runs through May 25, 2014 with performances each Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm and occasional 11:00 am performances. There is a sensory-friendly performance on April 27th at 11:00 am and an ASL-interpreted show at 4:00 pm. Purchase your tickets online, starting at $10.
Imagination Stage constantly produces high-quality, entertaining theater for children but they have really outdone themselves this time with a completely unexpected twist on a classic story. My very picky mother-in-law who saw the play with us, declared Cinderella to be “20 leagues above any children’s show” she had ever seen by intermission and after the play wondered whether there would be a national tour so she could take her other grandchildren to see it.
Children’s theater doesn’t get any better this so be sure not to miss it!
- Cinderella (Paige Hernandez) preps Chocolate Ice (Mark Hairston) for his big DJ audition in the world premiere of CINDERELLA: THE REMIX at Imagination Stage through May 25.
- Hoperah (Giselle LeBleu Gant – L) is here to save the day for Cinderella (Paige Hernandez – R) and Chin Chilla (Katy Carkuff – C) in the world premiere of CINDERELLA: THE REMIX at Imagination Stage through May 25.
- Cinderella (Paige Hernandez) can finally be her true self in the world premiere of CINDERELLA: THE REMIX at Imagination Stage through May 25.
- Photos by Margot Schulman.