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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.

The audience is also invited to witness a fresh take on the prince. Perhaps less blindly powerful and privileged and a bit more self-aware. One of the first songs plays on his desire to self-reflect and his court reminding him he does not have to. Nevertheless, he continues on his path of following his heart and allowing a softer side often void in traditionally masculine characters of days past. The shift from binary characters and gender roles, while still in the context of a classic fairy tale, was refreshing.

cinderellatour3216r-resizedPhoto: courtesy of Motley Crew Media

Tuesday, December, 6th was opening night, but there are many nights left to enjoy the show.

WHO: Lexus Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts.

WHAT: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA the Tony® Award-winning musical.

WHEN: December 6 – December 11, 2016. Tuesday – Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m.

WHERE: Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin, TX.

TICKETS: Start at $20. Tickets are available at BroadwayinAustin.com, the Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, and by phone at (512) 477-6060. For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email [email protected]