Has it been some time since you last thought about your glass slippers? Are you sure you still have them both of them?

The Arundel Barn Playhouse has just launched a production that may cause you to dash home and inventory your fancy footwear. But first you’ll want to stick around for the show. It’s a treat.

The Arundel take on the classic “Cinderella,” directed and choreographed by Daniel Gaouette, is based on a 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein version for TV that featured Julie Andrews. A hit then, it has been brought back from time to time due to its winning combination of music, comedy and period theatrical style. The kids will find it manageable at 90 minutes — at least, a bunch of them did at Wednesday’s matinee.

It’s really one of the most impressive productions to be seen at the venerable Arundel Barn in recent memory.

With live accompaniment from a trio of musicians led by Nicholas Maughan, the Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes are first rate, with “In My Own Little Corner” a standout. The clever tune was given a nice rendition by Jenna Pastuszek, a recent grad of New York University with a masters in vocal performance. Her Cinderella had just the right combination of sweetness and strength to carry her through the transition from put-upon drudge to sparkling princess.

John Carucci, also here via NYU, gave his Prince that sense of the cultivated chap who becomes smitten beyond all hope by the girl at the ball (who seems oddly concerned with what time it is). His duet with Pastuszek on “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” was a highlight.

The Godmother, played by Holland Hamilton, got into the act to convince Cinderella and the audience that “It’s Possible” for good girls to get to the ball and beyond — a memorable tune indeed. And the stepmother (Fjaere Harder) and stepsisters (Lauren Lindsey and Emily Rogers) were appropriately demanding and ditsy.

“When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight” and “A Lovely Night” gave this selfish trio a chance to shine in harmony with Cinderella. Their comic bits were also very entertaining.

Michael Soldati and Mel Bills played the King and Queen, with the latter a steady hand while the former got to clown while advising his staff to not serve King Crab at the ball as it might be interpreted as a comment on his disposition. A rim shot would not have been out of place there.

The dance numbers combined comedy and grace in engaging swirls of movement. The costumes by Stephanie Gift, particularly the lovely dresses and gowns, were impressive and the curvy motif of the set by Christopher Rhoton, lit by Timothy Reed, fit really well with the magic of the story. 

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

 


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