Regional: Theater review of ‘Cinderella: The Slipper & the Rose’ showing north of Denver
Special to the Daily
If you go …
What: “Cinderella: The Slipper & the Rose” — musical fairy tale.
Where: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Johnstown (about 140 miles from Vail — two and a half hours).
When: Through Aug. 27.
More information: Visit http://www.coloradocandlelight.com.
Once again, we made the trek north of Denver to the quirky Candlelight Dinner Playhouse — a dinner theater located smack dab among the oil and gas fields and RV dealers between Denver and Fort Collins. This time, it was for a reimagined version of “Cinderella” — that one about the mean ol’ stepmom, the prince, the beleaguered beauty and all that.
Once again, it was worth the trip.
While I may not be the target audience for “Cinderella: The Slipper & the Rose,” there’s plenty to like about this version of the classic tale as put on by the Candlelight. I can imagine taking a young girl there for a birthday treat, where she’d get the chance to see Cinderella come to life on the big stage, with the extraordinary costumes and set pieces the Candlelight has become known for — along with a live pit orchestra, actors running around in the audience and, of course, a full meal in with the deal.
Meet the cast, servers
This version of the tale features a score by the Sherman Brothers, the Disney writing team behind classics such as “Mary Poppins,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and others of that era. The tunes in “Cinderella” are generally light and fun and as directed and choreographed by Don Berlin, this production is as big as they get. With more than 20 cast members and a wonderful array of set variations, the show is a testament to how live theater transcends about anything you could see in the movie theater.
Assuming a dual role in this version is the Fairy Godmother (Annie Dwyer), who does her usual magic number on Cinderella while also serving as emcee. With a tiny dog in her arms, Dwyer warmed up the audience before both acts with the interactive patter of a borscht-belt comedienne. As the fairy godmother, Dwyer’s role is less serious than in the original, and she eases Cinderella’s misgivings with the air of someone who’s seen it all and is pressing “play” on the old convert-the-repressed-orphan-into-a-princess theme.
Also of note is the king, played by Tom Mullin, as a clueless blue-blood more interested in his badminton game than in the goings-on at court. As the famous couple, Matt Lafontaine and Sarah Grover hit the requisite notes of earnest and cute, while Scotty Schafer has a lot of fun with the role of Montague, the court’s tittering fop.
There are a few slow spots in Act I, and the new ending adds to the post-slipper-fitting plot that may not fly with traditionalists, but overall this production is solid and enjoyable.
The menu for this show hits on some Renaissance themes, such as steak and ale pie, a stuffed chicken breast and liberal use of what used to be exotic spices introduced in that era. As usual, the cast doubles as the waitstaff, and for the kids it’s a great chance to interact with the characters they’re seeing on stage.
Yes, it’s a bit of a haul from Vail to Johnstown, but for that special little girl, it may be quite the memorable trip to visit the kingdom of Euphrania — a la northern Colorado.
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