Black Ensemble Theater presents THE OTHER CINDERELLA. So, everyone knows the story about the abused girl being rescued by a prince. That’s the traditional fairytale that Disney has immortalized with talking mice and some “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.” What’s the untold story? The King thinks the Prince is gay. Stepmom works for the post office. Fairy Godmama practices voodoo. And Cinderella was bullied into dropping out of high school and now her job prospects are nil. THE OTHER CINDERELLA is a bedazzling, modern musical twist on the classic.
Playwright and director Jackie Taylor introduced her Kingdom of Other in 1976. So like a finely aged wine, the 2012 flavor is robust and lingering. On the surface, THE OTHER CINDERELLA is pure, high energy family entertainment. The singing is upbeat, hand-clapping, spirit-moving gospel choir. The story follows the traditional plot with additional layers of messaging. Taylor tackles identity, homophobia, unemployment, classism, skin color. And she does it with sass and grit. Taylor has an original and unique showcase!
The play starts out with a bunch of hoodied youth in the audience making ruckus. They are hoping to win a lottery to become a Page. Raymond Wise (The Page) wins. A charismatic Wise is hilarious as a liaison between the palace and the ‘hood. Other standouts are the deliciously evil trio of Dawn Bless (stepmomma), Jessica Moore (Geneva) and Lisa Beasley (Margarite). These over-the-top divas sing and jab as an unapologetic powerhouse of moxie. Blossoming onstage, individually and as a couple, Ta-Tynisa Williams (Cinderella) and Lawrence Williams (Prince) beautifully serenade us with melodies of hope. The entire ensemble is majestic, memorable and looking good. Costume Designer June Saito dresses the Kingdom in shiny and stylish finery.
If “Cinderella” wears a glass slipper, THE OTHER CINDERELLA wears a Jimmy Choo ‘Clue’ Glitter Slingback Pump. It makes the original glass version appear passe. Who wouldn’t prefer a Jimmy Choo over the glass alternative? This holiday season slip into this show, it’s a perfect fit!
Sidelining her white girl blues, M-Vo describes it with “spirit not souvenir.”
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission
At Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark
Written, produced and directed by Jackie Taylor
Music direction by Robert Reddrick
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru January 13th
Buy Tickets at www.ticketmaster.com or call 773.769.4451