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Highly Recommended! 'Cinderella… After the Ball'

Highly Recommended★★★★★

We all know that Fairy Tales end with “Happily Ever After”, but what if that isn’t the case? Cinderella, who was mistreated by her evil step-mother and sisters, gets to go to the Ball, meet the prince and supposedly live that “Happily Ever After” that we believe in. But in the new musical now on the stage at Marriott’s Theater for young people, “Cinderella… After the Ball”, we see what really might happen. With a clever book written by Eddie Sugarman , who also wrote the lyrics to the adorable songs and the music written by Jihwan Kim, we begin our story as the Prince (deftly handled by Devin DeSantis)and Cinderella (played to perfection by Dara Cameron, who evidently specializes in playing this role) prepare for their “happily ever after”. BUT…

The King (Rob Rahn, who also plays other characters in this one hour fairy tale), doesn’t feel that his son should marry beneath him and as it turns out, Cinderella feels they should not “rush” into marriage, but get to know each other first. Meanwhile, there is a revolution going on, and Pinocchio (a stunning performance by Justin Brill) wants to take over the kingdom, claiming that the “happily ever after” never really happens. He kidnaps Cinderella and her friends, Sleeping Beauty (the adorable Samantha Pauly) and Rapunzel (superbly brought to life by Laura Savage) and asks for a huge ransom from the king, who would rather that Cinderella not be rescued.

The prince, who is a nice guy, but a nerdy soldier, cannot seem to save his desired. The Fairly Godmother (a delicious portrayal by Anne Gunn, who also plays a few townspeople along the way) is also captured and with the aid of her co-horts and Becky, a local townsperson of no royalty (Elizabeth Telford) the super princesses manage to overturn a man- eating, fire- breathing dragon (a splendid Jeff Max, who also takes on other roles) who has written a Broadway Musical and Pinocchio’s other henchman, Herman (Harter Clingman, who also takes on some other roles).

This is a show that is ideal for youngsters in the ages 3 to 10, as it teaches them some lessons along the way. Not to be greedy, not to rush into things ,and certainly not to run away from fear. My grand-kids were in attendance, as they usually are, and both girls agreed that this might be the very best show they have ever seen on the kids stage at Marriott. In fact, one of the girls felt that the main theme was to never run away, but to face what is in front of you. Sarah, just turning 8, who is my little “actress”, loved the play and hopes that one day she can be like Dara. In her words “a star, who entertains little kids!” Rebecca, who is only five, had more questions about the characters, but realized that “good wins out in the end”. We all agree that life should work out that way, even though we know that it doesn’t. At least we can hope.

The songs are adorable, and the costumes are amazing as actors go off one aisle as one character and come back down a different one as another character. Director Scott Weinstein must have had a ball working with this group of actors. It seems as if they are having as much fun as the audience. This is the amazing feature of the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire’s "in-the-round" stage that makes sure that the four sides of the stage are seen by all. They cannot do much with sets as they have another feature play running in the evenings (and some afternoons), so they are limited. The show and story carry its message to the kids (and adults) in the audience. I suggest that you also stay on after the curtain call. This is about 10 minutes where audience gets to meet the cast and learn more about the backstage elements of live theater. It is educational and entertaining , but of greater import, let’s the kids feel that they participated in the event, making it far more memorable in the years to come.