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Raleigh Little Theatre packed the house with the Friday night opening of their 27th annual performance of Cinderella, directed by Haskell Fitz-Simmons. Geared toward entertaining children and adults alike, the show was a huge success and received an immediate standing ovation at curtain call. With beautiful scenic design combined with spectacular lighting effects that flashed on the audience during the play's most magical moments, the stage was set for an evening of enchantment. The beautiful costumes solidified the design with a gorgeous color palette; bright, glittering colors effectively separated family affiliations, isolating the step-family from the fairy godmother entourage from the royal court.
All the characters held their own in some respect or another. Timothy Cherry and M. Dennis Poole's performances of Henrietta and Gertrude absolutely commanded laughter from children and adults without discrimination. Indeed, the adults probably laughed louder than the children. Fairy Godmother's helpers Jason Cooper and Robert Steinberg presented physical comedy from the beginning of the show, bringing the audience in on their jokes with clever glances and winks as their plots unfolded. Rose Martin as Step Mama established her domineering presence immediately and supplemented her daughters' hilarity in every stunt they pulled. While the step-sisters and Fairy Godmother's helpers certainly brought hilarious antics and physical comedy to the stage, everyone else managed to find a way to shine, as well. Cinderella's lovely soprano and charming presence captured the very essence of the princess, and Fairy Godmother brought an element of cheer with her every entrance to the stage. Pelham Jacobs as Prince Charming captivated with his lovely tenor voice and made up for any weaknesses in performance with his performances in song. King Darling III, played by Warren Keyes, was brilliantly jolly, especially in the search through his kingdom, among the audience, with Prince Charming for the owner of the glass slipper. The house was dotted with little cinderellas, some of whom got to try on the glass slipper during the search for its owner. (The glass slipper, it should be noted, was more like a glass stiletto; about a three or four inch shimmering silver heel. No wonder Cinderella kicked it off straightaway at midnight.)
The incorporation of contemporary allusions and local references made this particular production special to the Raleigh audience. Anytime a character turned to speak out to the audience, one child or another had a witty remark that only children possess, and everyone became involved with the production. With a warm send-off from the cast to conclude the show, Cinderella ended on a magical note making for a fantastic early Christmas gift to anyone lucky enough to procure a chance to see this enchanting musical.
Cinderella continues through December 18. For details, see our calendar.
*The author is a member of CVNC's internship program at Meredith College.