July 14, 2010 Derby Dinner's recreation of 'Cinderella' a winner Show runs through Aug. 15 By CHARLES WHALEY email@example.com
> SOUTHERN INDIANA — “Impossible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage,” sings the regal, sparkling fairy godmother (Brooke Aston) in Derby Dinner Playhouse’s winning re-creation of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.”
And yet right there on the theatre’s bare stage the amazing transformation takes place, drawing awe-struck applause as lovely young Cinderella (Kelly Sina), gorgeously gowned, appears as if by magic inside the coach.
Wizards are obviously at work in this enchanting favorite produced by Bekki Jo Schneider and directed by associate producer and scenic designer Lee Buckholz, aided immensely by Butch Sager’s dazzling costumes and Heather Paige Folsom’s clever choreography.
As often is done in this staged show, originally broadcast in 1957 and starring Julie Andrews in the songwriting team’s only musical written for television, Cinderella’s ugly (in more ways than one) stepsisters are played here by men in drag--Matthew Brennan as Joy with a grating horsy laugh and John T. Lynes as Grace with an annoying itch she can’t stop scratching. They’re hilarious bumbling klutzes, especially in their “Stepsisters Lament.”
Yet their mean witch of a mother (Melissa Combs), who treats docile stepdaughter Cinderella like an indentured servant, has the weird idea that she can palm one of them off to marry Prince Christopher (Tyler Bliss).
As everyone knows, however, only Cinderella’s foot fits the glass slipper she lost at the palace ball. That’s after the Prince and his wry steward (Cary Wiger) seek out every maiden in the kingdom to try it on.
As the King and Queen who worry that their romantically inclined son may never take a wife, John Payonk and Annette McCulloch pair delightfully as they sing “Boys and Girls Like You and Me.”
They also add their voices to son Christopher’s heartfelt paen to Cinderella, “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?,” after he and Cinderella have sung a charming “Ten Minutes Ago” duet.
Bliss and Sina are marvelous singers, and it is indeed “A Lovely Night” when happily ever after finally arrives.
“Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” runs at various times through Aug. 15.
• For tickets and information call (812) 288-8281 or visit www.derbydinner.com