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New York’s Broadway theater presents Cinderella

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“Now you’re in New York, these streets will make you feel brand new—big lights will inspire you; let’s hear it for New York.” ~Jay Z and Alicia Keys

On Saturday, Nov. 23, Cabrini students were treated by the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL) to a trip to New York City for a day of shopping, sightseeing and a Broadway show.

The energetic bus ride to New York set the stage for the excitement that was to be felt for the remainder of the day. Students experienced the breath taking skyline of the city of New York; complete with the soaring Freedom Tower.

Once dropped off at 53rd Street in Manhattan, students were free to wander around the city, looking for hot shopping spots in Times Square, sightseeing or enjoy the Broadway show “Cinderella” in the majestic Broadway Theater. Complete with shiny chandeliers, 1,933 seats and  golden fixtures, the theater was surely a sight to see.

Stepping inside the Broadway Theater was enchanting from the beginning; The theater was decorated with dark red velvet walls and sparkling crystal chandeliers. The stage was transformed intoa twinkling forest scenery. Soon the house lights dimmed and the show began.

Laura Osnes starred as Cinderella (Ella) in the Rodger and Hammerstein’s adaptation of the classic. Osnes brought the character to life with her beautiful singing voice and charm. Ella lives with her horrible but comical Stepmother (Harriet Harris) and her two stepsisters Gabrielle and Charlotte played by Marla Mindelle and Ann Harada respectively.  Harris is bitter but memorable, reminiscent of Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus.”

Ella meets Prince Topher (Andy Jones) during a chance encounter. Topher is known for his brave reputation and is giving to the people. Topher is advised to find a bride by the cunning and conniving Sebastian (Peter Bartlett.) Soon the town is ablaze with excitement at the announcement of a grand ball.

Crazy Marie, the elderly towns lady, (Rebecca Luker) transforms into Ella’s fairy godmother in the blink of an eye.  Her tattered cape becomes a glam lavender and rhinestone gown. The swift costume changes are nothing short of magical. Ella’s tawdry peasant dress becomes a breath-taking, sparkling white ball gown complete with Venetian glass slippers.

The costumes and sets are as enthralling as the story itself. The regal, white carriage lights up and seems to float on the stage. Cinderella’s house is as quaint, warm and whimsical as a fairytale illustration.

The rendition of Cinderella tries to imbue a sense of kindness, change and how nothing is impossible. Cinderella and her fairy godmother croon out the words “Impossible, for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage/ impossible, for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in Marriage/And four white mice will never be four white horses! Such fol-der-ol and fid-dle-dy dee of course, is— Impossible!/…./Impossible things are happening every day.”

Osnes serenades the audience with a sweet ballad, “In My Own Little Corner,” which is empowering for girls to be whatever they want as she sings “I can be whatever I want to be/I’m a thief in Calcutta/ I’m a queen in Peru/I’m a mermaid dancing upon the sea/ I’m a huntress on an African safari.”

While Osnes is singing on a small stool, Jones belts out his version sitting on his regal throne. Jones convinces the audience he is Prince Topher  although he is an understudy for the role. The juxtaposition of the scenes woven together creates wonder on stage and foretells their next meeting.

At the grand ball the dance sequences are elegant and graceful, with aspects of ballet. Choreographed by Josh Rhodes, the turns, dips, jumps and waltz mesmerize the audience. The animals who magically become groomsmen perform a dizzying sequence of full body flips and leaps across the stage.

Both the script and lyrics are witty and creative. The sprinkling of innuendos and comical relief, especially from the stepmother and hysterical Charlotte, add a quirky side to the show. The audience laughed along with the offbeat and comical comments, which add flavor to what could have been a cookie-cutter show.

The play includes a storybook ending with a bedazzling royal wedding. The entire cast wears stunning snow-white costumes, none of which compare to Osnes’ satin princess bride gown. Her dramatic train draped like a snow-white waterfall on the tall ivory steps where the wedding scene takes place.

The moral of the story can seem a bit forced at times (the prince charming who opens up his eyes to help the poor people of the kingdom and Gabrielle marrying the poor revolutionary Jean Michel, portrayed by Greg Hildreth.) Yet the message is important and the social undertones make this glitzy and glamorous play much more than what meets the eye.
As the day came to a close, everyone was enchanted by sudden snow flurries that came falling from the sky. “The trip was a great way to spend a Saturday with friends and see New York,” Samantha Jacobs, sophomore marketing major, Spanish and accounting minor, said. “The flurries at the end of the trip were the icing on the cake of a perfect day!”

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