When Fairy Tales Collide

By Nancy Powell

Posted February 4, 2010 in Arts & Culture

Most little girls grew up watching some version of Cinderella, whether it be the sweet and doe-eyed heroine of Disney lore, Drew Barrymore’s Danielle in Ever After, Selena Gomez as Mary in Another Cinderella Story, or even twisted offshoots like Nickelodeon’s Fairly OddParents. Whatever its incarnation, the story always begins with the beautiful yet woefully mistreated Cinderella who comes under the care of a benevolent fairy godmother and transforms into a princess if just for a night at the royal ball, only to lose her magical glass slipper and recover it at the end, winning over the hand of the prince and riding off with the eternal refrain . . . happily ever after. 

Fortunately, MainStreet Theatre Company’s latest adaptation of Cinderella takes more of its cues from the Fairly OddParents than it does from the saccharinely sweet Disneyesque heroines of times past. In this story, Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit takes a wrong turn in Albuquerque. He falls through a wrong hole, landing in the Cinderella universe as her epic is about to begin, much to the chagrin and delight of the crafty and cunning Gladys, Cinderella’s fairy godmother and narrator of the story. Not one to waste valuable resources, Gladys soon makes quick work of her dilemma, recruiting Harold (the White Rabbit) in her quest to liberate Cinderella from her conniving stepmother and stepsisters. From there, it’s a rip-roaring, rollercoaster journey between the two universes as Harold attempts to find his way back to Alice while simultaneously teaming with Gladys to get Cinderella her due and to make the happily ever after with Prince Edward come to fruition.

Mark Rucker (James and the Giant Peach) directs a talented cast that includes Tracy Thomas (Dreams of Anne Frank and BFG) in the title role, Jeremy Lelliott (Dreams of Anne Frank) as the Prince, Reggie De Leon (A Year With Frog and Toad) as Harold the White Rabbit, Ann Marie Lee (James and the Giant Peach) as Gladys, and with Robyn S. Clark (A Year With Frog and Toad), Emily Eiden (Charlotte’s Web) and Christia Mantzke as the torturous stepsisters and stepmother. Rucker worked directly with original script composer and lyricist David Coleman to adapt Phylis Ward Fox’s 1978 book to his small stage, adding a new opening and putting a contemporary spin on the musical arrangements.

Maybe the White Rabbit is no Johnny Depp (who, coincidentally, will play the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice), but —like Jack Sparrow—he wreaks enough havoc with the traditional story to turn this Cinderella remake into a delightful romp for both children and adults, and enough to make Phylis Ward Fox proud.

Cinderella at Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 477-2752; www.lewisfamilyplayhouse.com. Tickets $16.50 general admission, $14.50 seniors and $12.50 children through the age of 12. Thru Feb. 13.


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