VanDriel: Candlelight’s Cinderella production overcomes weak script for a good time | MyWindsorNow.com

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VanDriel: Candlelight’s Cinderella production overcomes weak script for a good time

As I sat watching Candlelight Dinner Playhouse's production of "The Slipper and the Rose", I thought back to a night when I was 10.

My mom took me to see a similar play – a musical based on a fairy tale that featured all kinds of magic tricks. I was enthralled, and from that night, I wanted to be a part of the business that makes that magic happen night after night.

There may or may not have been a child in the theatre last week who is now hooked for life, but there were plenty of children there, a fact that always makes me happy and hopeful for theatre in general. And although this is somewhat of an uneven production, there is plenty to enjoy.

We all know the story of Cinderella, with the Disney film and perhaps the Rogers and Hammerstein musical version. This is the same story with a slightly different focus. Written by the Sherman Brothers (who also wrote "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), there are still princes and princesses, the nasty stepmother and stepsisters, the glass slipper, and the happily ever after. So what more could we want?

Better writing, for one thing. The script plods along, and structurally, it's just awkward. There are more than a couple of scenes – especially the crossover scenes – that just stop, without a real ending. There is also a lengthy period prior to intermission that is completely void of music.

Director Donald Berlin does his best to make it into an enjoyable evening. It just could have been so much better with stronger writing.

This version of the story focuses as much on the prince as Cinderella. And while Sarah Grover is lovely – especially on the songs "Once I was Loved" and "Tell Him Anything But Not That I Love Him" — she is somewhat outshone by Matt LaFontaine as her prince. LaFontaine's singing, movement and dancing is as perfect and effortless as we could possibly ask for.

The remainder of the cast is also strong, especially Tom Mullin as the King and Annie Dwyer as the Fairy Godmother. Dwyer is a master of ad lib, and her interactions with the audience are among the highlights of the evening.

Other highlights of the production include Casey Kearns' massive, beautiful set, Stephen Bertles' choreography (especially on "What a Comforting Thing to Know", Victor Walters' orchestra (which plays much bigger than its nine pieces), and especially the song "Protcoligorically Correct".

Candlelight's food and service is always far above the normal dinner theater offerings, and I would especially call your attention to the Steak and Ale Pie, featuring local favorite New Belgium's 1554 Black Lager.

The only real disappointing thing about this show is the script, but it's still a fun evening. Most importantly, if you go, take the kids.One of them may end up so enthralled they end up making theatre magic for their career.

— Bryan VanDriel lives in Greeley and has been active in the arts for over 35 years. He can be reached at bvandriel@aol.com.

WHERE TO GO

WHAT: “The Slipper and the Rose” a production of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

WHEN: Thursday – Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees through Aug. 27

WHERE: Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, 4747 Market Place Dr., Johnstown

TICKET INFO: (970) 744-3747