A New Take on an Old Classic: ‘Cinderella’ Debuts in Austin

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The story of Cinderella is a cultural icon. Cinderella has, through the decades, painted a picture of what it means to dream, to surpass one’s current circumstance, and for some, what it means to follow one’s heart and fall in love. Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella offers a refreshing new take on this tried and true tell of an unfortunate girl turned glamorous princess.

cinderellatour3030r-resizedPhoto: courtesy of Motley Crew Media

In the original, many might argue that Cinderella is a powerless character stripped of her status by an evil stepmother and forced to live a life of servitude. She is only happy and complete once she is rescued by the prince and falls in love. In the original, a pivotal scene includes Cinderella dropping her glass slipper and the prince swooping in to claim it and then devising a plan to find the girl. In essence, he saves the day and drives the plot. We are left with the traditional model of a damsel in distress being rescued by the powerful, handsome man.

Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella does it differently, allowing Cinderella to reclaim her power. In this version Cinderella drops her slipper on purpose and silently encourages the prince to take it, shifting the movement of the story into her hands. We see no distress, no mishap that requires rescue, but instead, we see intention and thought. A nice twist.

cinderellatour3094r-resizedPhoto: courtesy of Motley Crew Media

Further, we get to witness Cinderella encouraging the prince to hear the concerns of the townspeople – making real and positive change with her voice. Cinderella embodies kindness throughout the show, demonstrating that power can accompany compassion, contrary to the worn out portrayal of powerful women as cold and severe. The play also used some of the elites to humorously offer some criticism of modern classism.  Well done.

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