By Dee Jae Cox
“If you wish hard enough, even foolish dreams can come true.” And so believed Cinderella, who found her prince at the ball.
Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, now playing at the Palm Canyon Theatre and running through December 21st, offers a little bit of Broadway right here in Palm Springs.
From the moment that the lights go up on the stage, the audience is whisked away to the world of the poor, mistreated orphan who believes that wishes really do come true. It does not get better than a Rodger’s and Hammerstein musical and the Palm Canyon Theatre does it justice in their smaller scale production. Bruce Weber’s set design is magical. A 10 foot storybook dominates the stage and opens to different pages to set the backdrop for each scene. Each setting is as magical as the last. The urgency of the midnight hour is conveyed by the gigantic clock rising upstage like a full moon as it strikes the hour. J.W. Layne’s lighting is perfect. It sets the mood and the ambiance for this fairytale as we watch the ragamuffin girl become a princess.
Jaimie Leigh Walker is Cinderella: A seasoned Broadway actress could not have done a better job in bringing this character to the stage. Without a word, her facial expressions tell you everything that she is thinking and feeling while sitting in her abandoned spot by the hearth. Her voice is pure and her performance flawless.
Jason Lewis and Marjory Lewis inspire a smile and show what true love really is, in their portrayal of the King and Queen. Both symbolic of the family we wish for Cinderella. Rather than the wicked stepmother and sisters, portrayed by Morgana Corelli, Jennifer Stowe and Heidi Hapner, Cinderella’s relatives from hell who looked as if they had just stepped from the pages of the oversized storybook that provided the backdrop for their scenes.
While Kaisha D gave just enough of a smirk when casting her magic to imply she knew all along that a happy ending was in store for her poor mistreated godchild.
Heidi Hapner’s choreography is seamless from the opening ensemble in the courtyard to the intimate dance of love between the Prince and Cinderella. Jennifer Stowe’s costume and Mado Nunez’s wig designs round out the setting for this timeless story.
Opening night sound glitches were the only flaw in this otherwise beautifully directed production. If you are looking for an evening of smiles and reminders that dreams do come true, then definitely see this show before it closes on December 21st. It is a production that the whole family will enjoy.
The Palm Canyon Theatre gets 2.5 stars in my Gender Equity ‘Stars on Broadway’ rating, for having 3 out of their 11 upcoming shows written by women. Though they do not seem to do the standard promotion, with the playwright’s name attached to the show, their upcoming season is filled with great promise.
Cinderella runs through December 21, 2014
The Palm Canyon Theatre is located at 538 N. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, CA 92270
For Tickets: www.palmcanyontheatre.org
Box Office: 760-323-5123
Dee Jae Cox, is a playwright, director and producer. She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director for The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project and the host of KPTR 1450’s hit radio show, “California Woman 411” in Palm Springs.