By Erika Brown Thomas
The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences opens its season with a world premiere, Cinderella … After the Ball, a title that aptly summarizes this one-hour children’s show. Eddie Sugarman’s book and lyrics, together with a musical score by Jihwan Kim, bring familiar fairytale figures to the stage with charming character updates and several slight twists that arouse shouts of disbelief from young audience members experiencing this new “reality.”
Director Scott Weinstein with the help of a skilled production team weaves a story of disenchantment with the superficial “dream-come-true” life.
Cinderella (Dara Cameron) now finds herself living and breathing a part she feels she isn’t meant to play as she is schooled on how to live as Queen. Cameron plays this contemporary Cinderella to perfection, at times even using MacGyver-like skills to escape capture with shards of a glass slipper, among many adventures.
Samantha Pauly joins the fray as a narcissistic, narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty with an affinity for karate. Her transitions from fight to faint display her comedic prowess.
Laura Savage as Rapunzel provides the modern day audience with a more recent Disney princess connection and channels a sweetness that is inherent to that character. As far as Disney counterparts go, all three actresses hold their own insofar as each of their voices can stun and captivate an audience.
Elizabeth Telford breathes life into Becky, a competent and capable servant, who organizes and cheers the trio of princesses into becoming strong and independent women who can stand and fight not only for themselves, but for others as well. Her performance is genuine and holds up her character as the true heroine in this story.
Justin Brill drives the plot as the antagonistic and disillusioned Pinocchio. His nod to both the evil and comical sides of his character make him the “Goldilocks” villain for child audiences: not too scary – he’s “just right.”
Prince Charming (Devin Desantis) affords the audience many laughs as he bumbles and stumbles his way through the plot, eventually coming into his own, much as the four leading ladies find their way to a new idea of “happily ever after.”
Cinderella … After the Ball gives these beloved characters an injection of independence and free thinking that results in a delightful display that beckons lovers of fairytales and their families. Young audiences will thoroughly enjoy the performances and storytelling as each tale unravels and intertwines.
Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, presents “Cinderella…After the Ball” most Tuesdays through Sundays at 10 am with occasional 12:30 pm performances through May 8th. More information and tickets ($17.23, fees included, with group discounts also available) are available by calling (847) 634 – 0200 or online here. Free parking is available at all shows.