Bloomington MusicWorks is presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in an enthusiastically performed, solidly musical, nicely staged and warmly witty production at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre. The stage direction is by Kevin Sweeny with choreography by Katy Quigley. Conductor Sue Hartin and producer Brian Samarzea are the music directors. Costuming help comes from the Monroe County Civic Theatre.
Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote “Cinderella” for a live television production starring Julie Andrews in 1957. It was an unquestioned triumph but couldn’t be reshown. “Cinderella” was done on tape in 1965 with Leslie Ann Warren and that version received an annual network showing for nearly a decade.
. Opening night saw Heather Nicole Winter doing a winning performance as Cinderella with strong support from her prince, Nathan Richie. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s setting allows for some flexibility in the presentation. Winter was a bit feistier than most Cinderellas and Richie’s Prince was a bit more sensitive. Chris Curtis was a hit dramatically and vocally as the Fairy Godmother. Detra Carter presided as the Wicked Stepmother. Mandy Kramer and Galia Arad were audience favorites as the Step Sisters. They were nicely mismatched as a pair of serious and very funny sibling rivals. Jeffrey Magee was very funny as the kingdom’s down to earth and somewhat reluctant King. Tina Marie Sowders was his longsuffering wife. Emily Hodges was the Herald of the events.
One of Bloomington MusicWorks’ strengths is the wide talent pool that it attracts and its commitment to both using and developing talent. There were community stage veterans, IU and high school students and a solid representation from the middle and elementary schools. Many of the roles in”Cinderella” are double cast. The production boasts a full fifteen-member orchestra with brass, strings, woodwinds and percussion. From downbeat to final curtain, including an intermission, it runs only an hour and forty minutes.“Cinderella” is a show with some special appeals for audiences of all ages. It’s a solid, venerable story with some romance, some thoughtful moments and, in this production, a lot of broad humor.
Bloomington MusicWorks production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” plays this Friday and Saturday at seven-thirty and Sunday at three in the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre.