The title of the play is Cinderella.
But the undisputed star of the show is Mrs. Baden-Rotten, the evil stepmother, played by a tall (and deep-voiced) man in drag—more specifically, actor Mark Brey, who glories in the part.
Brey is delicious, including his wild invitations (such as a cell-phone symbolism with fingers stretched from mouth to ear: inviting his front-row victims to “Call me!!!”). He prims, he primps, he sports outrageous outfits (by costume designer B. Modern of Santa Cruz) that range from tacky tiger stripes (with falsies) to huge overhead hair. Audiences love the guy. He is a marvel, and great fun.
Hopefully this forward momentum will encourage Sacramento Theatre Company artistic director Peggy Shannon to invite Brey back to town to do his interpretation of “Speed Hedda” (apologies to Ibsen) or something else involving this obviously popular guy.
But let’s talk about the role at hand. Brey owns the stage every time he appears in this show, and he does his part in full extreme. He’s taller than just about anyone else in the show, his voice sails into the lower vocal ranges, his makeup is outrageous, he flashes more teeth than a piranha. He also gets strong support, especially from “daughter” Vincent Zamora (orange hair, hairy tummy), and secondarily from Brian Mitchell Rodda (who wears equally outrageous outfits, to somewhat less effect).
The show—originally mounted by Shakespeare Santa Cruz—features attractive music by Sacramento composer Gregg Coffin. And the tunes sound good the second time around (this being the second time the Sacramento Theatre Company has mounted the play). This year’s cast is a bit deeper than last year’s Cinderella in terms of involvement by Equity Actors (eight union actors are in this show, and don’t you wish that the company would risk that number on a classic?).
But that’s an aside. Cinderella is a delightful show, holiday or otherwise. Enjoy.