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Theater Review (LA): Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein

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If you are looking for a way to celebrate the Christmas season, or introduce the kids to musical comedy, or find an entertainment where the kids will sit quietly entranced by an enchanting story, then Cinderella as performed by the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities is for you. This is a shortened version (often only one verse of each song is sung) of the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical originally written exclusively for television. It first played (on TV) in the 50s and was revived twice after that (also for TV). The musical proved so popular it was later rewritten for the stage.

You can’t beat the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Cinderella produced several hits, including “Ten Minutes Ago” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful.” The orchestra, led by the talented Dennis Castellano, lives up to its moniker, “the best orchestra in Los Angeles.” At 90 minutes, with a lengthy intermission of around 40 minutes to give the kids and parents time for the restrooms and to stock up on glass slippers and candy bars, the show is parent and kid friendly.

There was more going on than just candy bars and music. The lead performer, Nicole Werne, is a natural to turn up on Broadway one day. Douglas Carpenter makes a handsome prince with an amazing voice to match his looks. Tracy Lore and Dink O’Neal are suitably silly as the King and Queen. Heather Lee as the stepmother, and Anna V. Ramsey and Jessica Ginsin-Mosely as the stepsisters, almost steal the show.

The hugely talented Dan Mojica directs. His choreography for the ballroom scene is very beautiful. In Cinderella, producer James A. Blackman, III has found a wonderful alternative for Christmas that is not only happy, but tuneful, pretty to look at, and thoroughly entertaining for the kids. Through Dec. 16th at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

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