What girl, young or old, doesn't like fairytales? I know I do. This is why when I was offered a pair of opening night tickets to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Straz Center I got super excited.
We arrived to the Straz early, eagerly awaiting the performance. We grab some refreshments and headed over to find our seats. Dotted throughout the theater were several young girls dressed up in their Cinderella ball gowns. It was great to see these children being exposed to theater and being excited about it.
Once inside the theater I took note of the stage. It was transformed into an enchanted forrest of sorts. Trees lined the stage with a magical glow around them. I could tell we would be in for quite a treat.
And then the show began. We get to see Prince Topher battling larger than life dangers such as dragons. We also get a peek at the humor that will be delighting us throughout the performance. Prince Topher has just gotten back from University and isn't quite sure just who he is yet.
We also meet Cinderella, who is kind and loving to everyone - including crazy beggar woman Marie. Her father has died and left her with her evil stepmother and step sisters. They of course all take advantage of her and treat her quite poorly.
Most of us know the Disney version of Cinderella. There were some differences in this version. I don't want to give everything away but I think the messages given and lessons learned are awesome.
In the Disney version we see Cinderella as a helpless woman stuck in a life she hates because of her evil family. This is only changed for her when her fairy godmother gives her some nice clothes and a carriage to go to the ball. She dances with the prince, he finds her through her missing shoe, and then her life is changed because they get married and live happily ever after.
Not much of a lesson taught there. In this version Cinderella is aware of problems where she lives and tells the prince of them. She wants him to make a change. Yes, she is trapped by her family, but she has real-life thoughts and her fairy godmother just helps her get them to the prince.
It also shows how love isn't just about looks or money, but love will triumph if you really connect to the person you are with.
Those are lessons that should be taught by fairy tales in my book.
The vocal performances were on key and the dancing was beautiful. My favorite part of the show? Cinderella's transformation.
When Cinderella's fairy godmother transforms her raggy old dress into a beautiful ball gown it is done right before your eyes. It really does seem like magic! I couldn't figure out how it was done. She doesn't hide for a costume change, there is no fog or smoke to distract you, it simply seems magical.
The fox and raccoon turning into coachmen was also superbly done.
The show truly was magical to me. I loved the comedic aspect of the show, I loved the singing and dancing, and I love the slightly different storyline than what I was used to.
I was kept excited throughout the whole performance and would highly recommend you go see it.
Cinderella and the Straz are also giving you a chance to be a fairy godmother!
Bring your gently used prom dresses, cocktail party dresses, evening gowns, shoes and accessories to any performance of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella for donation to Belle of the Ball Project, a nonprofit organization that provides homecoming and prom dresses to young women in need.
*Through a partnership with Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz Center I received 2 complementary tickets to opening night of Cinderella in exchange of my honest review. All opinions are my own.