Cinderella, the timeless tale of a raggedy young woman who uses her beauty, brains and magical intervention from a fairy godmother to help snag a handsome prince, is being retold in sophisticated, elegant and high-tech style through Christmas Eve at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton.
“This is the most complicated and technical show” performed at the Wick since it opened nine years ago, said Marilynn Wick, executive managing producer. She has pulled together a skilled production team and lots of singers, actors and dancers to make the performance move and shine.
The musical is well worth the endeavor. On-stage sets are given life with backdrops providing realistic movement without diminishing the fantasy flair of this classic tale. Lead actors excel as vocalists, actors and dancers, aided by an ensemble of well-schooled performers. Overall, the show provides a full evening of entertainment for the young and old.
Elliot Mahon portrays the prince, center, in a scene from Cinderella, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)
“More than just a glittering ball gown and glass slippers, this stunning adaptation [with music composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein] was nominated for nine Tony Awards,” noted Wick. “Presented with elaborate costumes and sumptuous sets, this beloved fairytale is the perfect fit for the holiday season.”
Stepping into the famous glass slippers are two acclaimed performers who alternate appearances. The evening of our review, we were delighted by actress Mallory Newbrough as the title character. Winner of two Carbonell Awards for her capable talents featured in Beehive at the Wick and Matilda the Musical at Slow Burn Theatre, Newbrough’s performance in Cinderella was reminiscent of her role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, which earned her a Carbonell nomination.
Mallory Newbrough in Cinderella, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)
Taking the lead role on alternating nights is Daniella Mass, who portrayed Eva Peron in the Wick’s production of Evita. Mass also placed first at the “George Gershwin International Music Competition” in New York and was a semi-finalist on “America’s Got Talent.”
Both Newbrough and Mass get ample backing from lots of capable stage mates.
For this production, The Wick welcomes back Broadway director Norb Joerder, who’s helmed more than a dozen shows at the Wick. including last season’s blockbuster Gypsy, as well as music director-to-the-stars, Bobby Peaco, and the choreographer for this season’s opener, Milk and Honey, Oren Korenblum.
You won’t find much Disney in Wick’s Cinderella, which was written as a television show for Julie Andrews in 1957. It was then remade in versions starring Leslie Ann Warren (1965) and later with pop singer Brandy (1997).
In 2013, the show made its long-overdue Broadway debut with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, while retaining the cherished score from the TV show that includes “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” “Ten Minutes Ago” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”
Music truly moves the show. Newbrough and Elliot Mahon (Prince Topher) offer excellent duets for three of the aforementioned tunes. Mallory and Aaron Bower (tasked as Crazy Marie and the Fairy Godmother) combine to make “Impossible/It’s Possible” perhaps the show’s best piece of music, with a boost from Bower’s soaring soprano voice.
Mallory Newbrough and Elliot Mahon dance in Cinderella, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)
The Cinderella story is pretty much familiar grist. The title character who lives with her nasty stepmother (award-winning actress Angie Radosh) and two disinterested sisters (Britte Steele, Whitney Grace) receives a ticket to the prince’s ball thanks to fairy godmother intervention. Come midnight, she loses a glass slipper, and the prince spends the rest of the play looking for the woman with the foot that fits. Naturally, he finds her, and the obligatory nuptials follow.
Apparently to make the show more “adult,” a character named Jean-Michel (Alexander Blanco), a mild-mannered rebel, joins the fray. Director Joerder says the change transforms Cinderella into “a contemporary heroine whose new goal [with Jean-Michel] is to open Prince Topher’s eyes to the injustices in the kingdom.” Though this segment is kind of wedged into the action, the story remains true to its magical fairy tale origins, retaining its appeal to children.
Aaron Bower as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)
In addition to stunning lead performances, Radosh, Steele and Grace add whimsical comic relief. As mom, Radosh is delightfully devious; Steele offers some humorous disregard for the prince and Grace dares to surreptitiously side with Cinderella so she can pursue her own true love, Jean-Michel.
As the prince, Mahon is mild and gentle, though he comes on strong at the opening by slaying a dragon – a deed that gives him a reputation of strength. Still, as he aspires to kingship, he needs a bit of guidance and inspiration to realize his full potential. That task falls to Sebastian (Charles Baran), Topher’s lord chancellor. And while Sebastian wants to protect the prince, he does so by inappropriately shielding him from what is going on in the kingdom – a deed that Cinderella and Jean-Michel eventually undo.
Dance scene from Cinderella, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)