The retelling of Cinderella
Besides being sweet and sassy, the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Cinderella musical is also bawdy and ballsy.
The sweet part is the classic cute meeting of mistreated peasant girl and kind, handsome prince that ends in—spoiler alert—soul (and sole) mates living happily ever after.
The sassy part is how refreshing these characters are written—none of them are namby-pamby cardboard cutouts usually found in fairy tales. These are strong and witty heroes and heroines, each holding their own, especially damsels Cinderella, Little Bo Peep and the Queen. And there are enough funny, kooky characters like the Bear, Buttons and Good Fairy that elevate it from being too saccharine for kids not interested in true love.
The bawdy part is what saves this holiday outing for the grown-ups. Naughty double-entendres fly over the heads of the wee ones in the audience, but are quickly caught by the grateful adults.
And the ballsy parts? Well, besides the Big Ball dance where Cinderella loses a slipper, there’s the hilarious gender-bending evil stepmother Mrs. Baden-Rotten and her two daughters, the evil stepsisters, played with much aplomb and nonapologetic scene-stealing by the memorable, talented trio of William Elsman, Michael R.J. Campbell and Brian Rodda.
The entire cast is wonderful, including the inclusion of STC-2 Young Professionals Conservatory in the parts of Sheep and Mice. Besides the drag dream team, standouts include Hilary Wells (rotating with Morgan Cook) as Cinderella, Tristan Rumery as Prince Charming, Caleb Salmon as Buttons, Orlana Klip as the Queen, Jessica Goldman as Little Bo Peep and Lucinda Hitchcock Cone as the Good Fairy.
This musical, which found a home at STC for three years starting in 2000 and was brought back this year, was co-written by local composer Gregg Coffin, who supplied the clever and sentimental words, while Kate Hawley provided the book and lyrics. It’s the classic fairy tale of lost slippers and found love, but both songs and characters lend a modern sensibility to the sweetness and romance. And the live band is an added bonus to a fun, family-friendly (with blessed doses of naughtiness), clever holiday outing.