Tick-tock-tick-tock, DINNNNG! The clock strikes 12. A glass slipper tumbles down the staircase: click-clack-click. A voice from the palace calls, “Cease that girl!” Abruptly, the place there was as soon as a carriage stands a smashed pumpkin, and a lady who as soon as wore an exquisite blue robe is now wearing rags.
Final weekend BLACKstage introduced Memorial Auditorium to life with Rogers and Hammerstien’s magical musical of “Cinderella.” The manufacturing carefully adopted the classical fairytale, from the evil step-mother and step-sisters to the glass slippers on the ball. Nevertheless, very like the 1997 movie that utilized color-blind casting, BLACKstage utilized a completely Black solid, shining new that means on the acquainted story.
As somebody who grew up watching and loving Disney’s “Cinderella,” it was really magical to see it enacted on this reimagined vogue.
Sharon Wambu ’24, who performed Cinderella, mentioned that “there was a lot Black pleasure” in portraying these characters. Director Liyah Ernest ’26 additionally highlighted the significance of getting a Black solid, since “you don’t get to see a number of Black folks in fairy tales a lot.”
BLACKstage took additional liberties with the unique script in casting a lady (Madison Amboise ’23) as Prince Christopher, the main male. This appeared to trigger confusion within the viewers at first, but it surely grew to become obvious all through the remainder of the present that Amboise was nonetheless enjoying a male character. I discovered it helped to bridge the considerably uncomfortable energy dynamic of the normal story, the place a robust wealthy male successfully saves a lower-class girl from strife.
This was Amboise’s first and final manufacturing at Stanford. She commented on how wonderful the method was to “put [in] a lot time and power […] and see how a lot this present grew and adjusted.” The administrators helped her and Wambu “put in actual effort and really feel actually snug with the best way that we have been portraying our roles,” she added.
A number of different solid members have been new to bringing collectively a musical. Ernest — who labored as director, set helper and solid member — described the method as a studying expertise, expressing appreciation for the “alternative to take management of issues.”
The director’s work with the actors paid off, because the appearing and singing have been phenomenal. It was clear that they put a number of work into embodying these characters. The actors’ robust enactments helped them pull off their subversions of conventional gender and race norms, moderately than making the modifications really feel jarring. This successfully reimagined the well-known story arc, flipping the narrative to be extra inclusive.
After all, you can not have Cinderella with out her fairy godmother. I used to be completely impressed by Nyah Ware’s ’25 efficiency on this position. Her vocals have been phenomenal — she had a novel vocal set with a slight rasp, creating a robust second each time she sang. This was most obvious when she sang “Unimaginable” and “It’s Attainable: Finale Act 1.” Her deep, coarse voice superbly projected the energy and confidence of this all-knowing magical character. It helped her to suit the position of a mentor, instructing Cinderella what she is able to and to be assured in herself.
If in case you have seen Disney’s “Cinderella,” additionally, you will be conversant in the considerably lackluster chemistry between the titular character and the Prince. BLACKstage’s manufacturing made these characters far more relatable, giving the viewers butterflies in songs like “The Sweetest Sounds,” the place Amboise’s and Wambu’s vocal harmonies blended superbly collectively.
The tune takes place exterior of the village as Cinderella and Prince Christopher — disguised as a peasant — wander in hopes of freedom and an understanding soul. When the 2 collide, they break into tune and confess their seek for a real love someplace on the market.
This explicit scene additionally illustrates one other spotlight of the night time: the units, which swiftly modified all through to create totally different rooms and locations. The design created an ideal, fascinating ambiance for the couple’s first interplay. Distributors and their stands bustled within the background, whereas the lightning centered on the protagonists.
The pit orchestra additionally added to the fantastic thing about the efficiency, creating sounds of magic and permitting for a mystical second.
Regardless of these candy connections, the story may have flowed higher. I used to be left wanting one thing extra, because it has been instructed and retold a number of instances. I hoped for one thing to distinguish this iteration’s plot from the remaining.
Moreover, there have been moments of awkwardness between the interactions of the characters. As an illustration, among the romantic scenes between Cinderella and Prince Christopher got here off as quirky conveying an odd interplay moderately than a cuteness. General, although, they definitely devoted themselves to this efficiency.
All in all, it was a beautiful expertise, creating a way of childhood surprise and permitting me to revisit a time of magic and glass slippers. As Wambu mentioned, it was a “magical manufacturing expertise.”
Editor’s Notice: This text is a evaluation and incorporates subjective opinions, ideas and critiques.