Is There A New Belle Of Broadway?

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Since The Beauty and the Beast Broadway departure in 2007, there hasn’t been another princess to take on musical theatre — until now.

A retelling of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella has recently opened on Broadway, and it’s already gotten quite the buzz.

Originally a 1957 written-for-TV musical starring Julie Andrews, the tale has since become Broadway spectacle starring Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes with additional songs and new adaptation by Xanadu playwright Douglas Carter Beane.

So, how are critics taking to this fresh take on an old classic?

Many faithful theatre-goers are praising Beane for the re-imagination that touches base on social problems (“Maybe she should be renamed Che-erella,” one critic quipped) while keeping the magic and romance alive between Ella and Prince Topher, played by Santino Fontana.

However, some critics didn’t fall for the pixie dust, criticizing that that the set and costume design “aren’t magical enough” to allevate the story.

Have you seen Cinderella on Broadway yet? See what the critics have to say below, then chime in with your opinions in the comments.

Huffington Post: “For the kids, there is pure magic. Cinderella’s gowns appear with the best Broadway sorcery, a fox and a raccoon become footmen, the horse-drawn carriage appears as if we were in a Vegas magic show and a giant tree monster is slayed.”

Entertainment Weekly: “After the third or fourth unmemorable song during this both tedious and thrilling retelling of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, I found myself thinking about another song written by that famous duo. With apologies to Mrs. Von Trapp, how do you solve a problem like Cinderella? For starters, you hire Tony-winning playwright Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, The Little Dog Laughed) to refashion the antiquated fairy tale into a social commentary on royalty, wealth, and status. Ditch any preconception that the title heroine is some antifeminist blonde who just cares about getting decked out to meet a royal hottie. . . Never underestimate the power of a ball gown and glass slippers.”

The Village Voice: “Some of the punchlines come off too self-aware, as if they’re the author’s comments more than the characters’, and as the arch declarations pile up, the mix of Carol Burnett Show-style spoofery with earnest storytelling doesn’t mesh. But in Act Two, the action becomes more fluid and the piece seems more of a whole, especially whenever the leads get to be straightforward and romantic.”

Variety: “All these clever alterations radically change the story we all grew with, the tale about how true love rescues a callously mistreated girl from persecution… For that matter, Ella is no longer even the hero of her own fairytale. By introducing all those politically correct social issues, Beane has effectively shifted the focus of the story to the Prince, who has fallen down on the job of governing his kingdom.”

The New York Times: “Like the reinvented cartoon fairy-tale heroines of the past several decades, from Disney’s Little Mermaid onward, this Cinderella is no passive damsel waiting for a rescuing knight. She takes charge of her destiny, so much so that she doesn’t lose that glass slipper; she hands it to the prince. It’s a conscious choice, see; she controls her narrative. And, by the way, the prince must undergo a similar process of re-education, which will allow him to conquer his self-doubts and introduce democracy to his kingdom.”

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