Reviewed by David Sackrider
A glass slipper.
Three words and you know the whole story.
Directors Meredith Bean McMath and Diane El-Shafey gave us the glass slipper, and so much more, as Aurora Studio Theatre presented the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of "Cinderella."
They gave us a beautiful peasant princess. They gave us a very hip Fairy Godmother. They gave us a nasty stepmother, a pair of over-the-top stepsisters, a handsome prince who looks the part and a collection of delightful storyland characters.
McMath's direction brought out all of the hmor in the book, and there is plenty. Tim Griffin's Herald pushed the envelope of pompous hilarity, aided by a frighteningly funny set of dentures. The King (Ric Stroup) dressed in not much more than the emperor's new clothes, had a very comical way of dresing for royal duties.
Along with a very good chorus, the voices of three women stood out: Michelle Hixon as Cinderella, Melissa Shaw O'Connor as the Fairy Godmother, and Lauri Stroup as The Queen. Accompanied by Carma Oliverez on the piano, these voices were precise and clear. All three women interpreted their songs with emotion in keeping with the story. The chorus developed a full, rich sound in the group numbers.
Michelle Hixon as Cinderella and Dustin Lambert as Prince Charming made a beautiful storybook couple. The children in the audience (and there were many on opening night) were enchanted, just as they should be. They were fortunate to see Ms. Hixon one more time before she moves to Idaho to be with her family. She will be missed.
Natalie DeHart and Annie Stokes performed beyond their years as the stepsisters. DeHart's portrayal of thick headedness and Stokes' of perpetual sullenness were each a delight.
"Cinderella" lacks the popularity achieved by some of Rodgers and Hammerstein's other musicals, perhaps because "Oklahoma," "The Sound of Music," and the others are not based on children's stories. Because of this we rarely hear the little gem, "In My Own Little Corner."
McMath, El-Shafey and Aurora Studio Theatre have given us another opportunity to live a night of seldom heard songs, belly laughs, and dreams coming true.
Aurora Studio Theatre presented "Cinderella" at the Old Stone School in Hillsboro April 17-30. Remaining performances are at Loudoun Country Day School in Leesburg May 6 at 7:30 pm and May 7 at 3:00 pm.