We were lucky enough to attend opening night of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella at The National Theatre last night and what a treat it was! Fun fact: the musical was originally written for television and starred the incomparable Julie Andrews but did not make its Broadway debut until 2013. Fast forward 58 years from the original airing to The National Theatre, where you’ll find carefree and angelic Kaitlyn Davidson in the roll of Ella.
Classic elements of the original story are present – from the pumpkin, glass slippers and fairy godmother, all the way to Cinderella’s stepmother. In this Broadway version, you’ll find no Disney damsel in distress, but a kind-hearted, confident woman who in essence is the one who rescues the kingdom and in turn the prince. As a mom of two daughters, I LOVE that the story takes a more contemporary turn.
One of the main messages of Cinderella is to have kindness, compassion and forgiveness. And in today’s world and with all that has been going on, what better message can we teach our children? (And it’s a great reminder for us as adults to show compassion to one another). For this reason alone, I recommend attending the show. Kaitlyn Davidson as Ella portrayed these virtues inside and out. Her enchanting voice throughout “Ten Minutes Ago” and “In My Own Little Corner”, had me mesmerized. Andy Huntington Jones who plays Prince Topher, was a strong character in his own right. He and Ella have quite the chemistry which helps make the love story, which surprisingly and thankfully enough isn’t front and center, a joy to watch.
The evil stepmother, Blair Ross (Madame) plus step-sisters Kimberly Faure (Gabrielle) and Aymee Garcia (Charlotte) added a layer of humor to the musical that kept the audience on their toes. We noted with pleasure that Gabrielle was not a mean stepsister unlike in the original story and knew deep down that the way Cinderella was being treated by her stepmother was wrong. David Andino as an outspoken, yet timid Jean-Michel wishes to make a change in the kingdom and also fancies a funny, yet sweet ‘forbidden’ romance with Gabrielle. We were taken away with the dynamic Liz McCartney who plays Marie, the Fairy Godmother. She has a beautiful voice, heavenly-like demeanor and her song “Impossible” is still being sung in our house.
The music and lyrics (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) are elegant and playful and move the musical along at a nice pace. One of the absolute best parts of this production are William Ivey Long’s costumes. There are several quick changes and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but pay close attention during the scene when Cinderella is transformed into her beautiful gown.
You should definitely go see Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella – we loved everything about this musical. The show will be at The National Theatre until November 29, 2015. For tickets, purchase online or call the box office at 800-514-3849.
- Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is two hours and 15 minutes plus an intermission. We saw many children at the theater and would recommend it for ages 4 (if your child can sit that long) and up.
- There is only one set of bathrooms that we could find in the theater. So plan accordingly. The line was fairly long during intermission, but it did move.
- Parking is available in lots nearby but we scored some street parking on Constitution Avenue which is an easy two block walk to the theater.
- Due to increased security measures at the theater, please be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early. All patrons are subject to a security screening. You may not bring any bags, backpacks, parcels or luggage into the National Theatre.
- Photo One: Kaitlyn Davidson, Blair Ross, Kimberly Fauré and Aymee Garcia.
- Photo Two and Three: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella tour company.
- Photo Four: Liz McCartney and Kaitlyn Davidson.
- Photo Five: Andy Huntington Jones and Kaitlyn Davidson.
- All photos © Carol Rosegg.