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A fashionable “Cinderella” spins at the Drury Lane Theater

When I go to the theatre, Christmas always comes suddenly for me, usually in the second week of November and with a big jolt. But when it comes to dazzling seasonal décor, few surpass the Drury Lane Theatre, where anyone daring to design a stage at this time of year has to compete with the lobby first.

This year, Drury Lane doesn’t have a seasonal attraction but is instead staging “Cinderella,” a princess musical that, in my experience, always encourages audiences to step up in fashion. When the child wears a crown and a dress, and most of it is on Thursday night, parents think it is not right to accompany them in jeans. All in all, a very nice view.

Of course, such formal and celebratory attire is reflected on the stage as well; considering this is a show about a prom, a fairy godmother with transformative fashion powers, and even a wedding. At one point on Thursday, there appeared to be so much fabric circulating on the Drury Lane stage that it could be in short supply for western suburbs winter brides.

First, a point of clarification. There are many “Cinderellas,” good and bad. What you see here is the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein “Cinderella,” which began as a television show starring Julie Andrews in 1957 and was given a new Douglas Carter Beane book (based in part on the original television play) during its 2013 Broadway run. producing. In this version, retooled for modern progressive sentiments, Prince Topher not only falls in love with his former kitchen maid, but also learns from her how to be a better ruler of the country and how to get rid of its oppressive prime minister (amusingly played by Jeff Parker), who is evicting people from their homes . The stepmother (Gisela Adisa) has her own marital history. And it turns out that one of the evil stepsisters (Christine Mayland Perkins) is actually an ally. Who knew?

If you’ve seen “Cinderella” at the Paramount Theater That wasn’t what this production in Aurora in 2021 was, it was something closer to the original teleplay.

Both have their pros and cons, neither compares favorably to true Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musicals, and we can at least be grateful that “Bad Cinderella” never tarnishes our communities either.

It’s a bit obsequious and politically correct, but Beane’s book is lighthearted, entertaining, and offers a message that’s certainly more appropriate to the book’s younger fans. On the other hand, there’s a strange dissonance between the original songs, which mostly conform to the lyrical tradition, and a book in which Cinderella sings things like “I’m fine.” And while we’re here wandering around like nerds, the other “Cinderella” from Aurora has better songs.

Here, in director Amber Mak’s staging, you don’t get “The Sweetest Voices” but a track originally cut from “South Pacific” and a very attractive star in Lissa deGuzman (more of a lovely lyrical singer than a belter). ), an appropriately passive but well-adjusted Prince Topher, an emotionally rich fairy godmother courtesy of Jeffrey Kringer (who has no equal in Cinderella, which is the point here) and the incomparable McKinley Carter. The series doesn’t really use these archaic terms, but it certainly knows the box office appeal of its title.

Mak’s choreography also adds great value, thanks to some very athletic ensemble members. The set and band are modest in size, but Theresa Ham’s costume design here is truly outstanding, especially in how it gives the people of the fantasy world, or wherever we may be, an individualized identity.

And everyone looks amazing. On and off stage.

Theater Cycle

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Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

cjones5@chicagotribune.com

Review: “Cinderella” (3 stars)

When: By January 7, 2024

Where: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

Working time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Tickets: $85.75-$96.25 drurylanetheatre.com

Jeffrey Kringer and Lissa deGuzman "Cinderella" at the Drury Lane Theatre.

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