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PEACH WEEKENDER | THEATER

New memories: 'Cinderella' musical a contemporary classic

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    Sean Ryan, Leslie Jackson and Tatyana Lubov in 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'

    Carol Rosegg

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    Sean Ryan, Tatyana Lubov, and Nick Burrage in 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'

    Carol Rosegg

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    Tatyana Lubov, Sarah Smith, Nicole Zelka and Joanna Johnson in 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'

    Carol Rosegg

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    Sean Ryan, Tatyana Lubov, and Nick Burrage in 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'

    Carol Rosegg

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    Louis Griffin and Tatyana Lubov (center) and the cast of 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'

    Carol Rosegg

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    Louis Griffin and Tatyana Lubov and the cast of 'Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.'

    Carol Rosegg

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, the Broadway musical presented at the Stranahan Theater Thursday through Sunday, is designed to bring back old memories and create new ones.

The national tour of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production has the beautiful heroine Cinderella, her Fairy Godmother, her stepmother and stepsisters who have mean reputations, a handsome prince, dancing, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s songs. Then there’s the beautiful gowns and those glass slippers. 

Rodgers and Hammerstein originally wrote Cinderella for television; it was aired on CBS in 1957 and starred Julie Andrews. 

IF YOU GO

‘Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella’

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.

Tickets: $33, $38, $43, and $89

Information: 419-381-8851, theaterleague.com, and in person (with no service fee) at the Stranahan box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. No children younger than 4 will be admitted.

The Broadway production, which debuted in 2013, is lush with memorable songs, scenes such as the masked ball, award-winning costumes, and a new book by Douglas Carter Beane that takes a contemporary approach to the story. 

The prince is now called Topher, Cinderella is called Ella, and he is more introspective and she has a more spirited attitude.

“She’s very driven and fights for herself,” Tatyana Lubov, who portrays Ella, said in a recent interview with The Blade.

When Lubov was a child, Cinderella was her favorite Disney princess, “so it’s pretty surreal that I now get to play her.”

The show is the classic Cinderella tale that everybody knows and loves but with a modern twist, she said. “The characters have funny, witty lines, and there’s a deeper connection with each of them.”

The cherished story centers on Ella, who does chores for her stepmother and stepsisters but dreams of a better life. And Topher, the prince, is contemplating his purpose in life. A ball is planned to help him find a bride, and Ella’s Fairy Godmother arranges for her to go to the ball in a gorgeous gown and glass slippers, and the beautiful stranger and the prince share a dance. But when the clock strikes 12, she must flee.

The production’s costumes and choreography make a beautiful picture, Lubov said. Costumes are by William Ivey Long, winner of six Tony Awards for best costume design, including for Cinderella in 2013. A gown Lubov dances in has 16 layers of fabric, and the choreography includes lifts and kicks to showcase them. 

The production has transformations that are done so well that it really does feel magical, she said. Animals are transformed into royal attendants and a pumpkin becomes a carriage, and Ella’s peasant clothes become a ballgown. The glass slippers have their own moment, when everything pauses and the spotlight shines down on them, with beautiful results.

Cinderella appeals to all ages and genders, Lubov says. And the princess craze continues. “We have lots of little girls show up in princess dresses in blue or other colors.” There is a lot of dressing up for the show — by adults too.

“Recently we had a middle-aged couple dressed up as Cinderella and the Prince; that’s always fun to see at the stage door.”

Performances of Cinderella, brought to the Stranahan by the Theater League, are at 7:30  p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7:30 Sunday at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Tickets are $33, $38, $43, and $89, and are available at 419-381-8851, theaterleague.com, and in person (with no service fee) at the Stranahan box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is recommended for ages 4 and older; children under the age of 4 will not be permitted into the theater.

Contact Sue Brickey at sbrickey@theblade.com.

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