SMITHFIELD – They say that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but the members of the Four Seasons Theatre Company apparently aren’t afraid to try.
No one has ever claimed that Cinderella is the best musical ever written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, but the Four Season folks here have made the tired old show shine with gorgeous costumes, wildly inventive scenery, lovely choreography, thrilling vocal performances and delightful characterizations.
If that sounds like a fairy tale come charmingly true, that’s because it is one.
Cinderella was originally developed for a television broadcast in the late 1950s. When the show was finally produced on Broadway in 2013, a new script by Douglas Carter Beane introduced additional characters — including a sympathetic stepsister — and gave the fairy tale more contemporary themes and a lot more laughs.
While the stage show retained all of Cinderella’s original music, four tunes from the huge Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue were also added to its score.
With those improvements, this Four Seasons production looks and sounds almost like a totally fresh musical and it’s a welcome change.
In the title role, Four Seasons veteran Emma Duffin is a triple-threat delight. She can not only sing, dance and act, but is also talented enough in all those categories to hold her own while performing numerous duets with the incomparable Sarah Huff, an opera-quality soprano appearing in the role of the Fairy Godmother.
Ms. Duffin co-stars with Nathan Bohman as the Prince and their on-stage chemistry is heart-warming. Bohman’s tenor voice is perfectly suited for the role of the naïve soon-to-be monarch and blends nicely with Ms. Duffin’s soprano in their duets.
Other cast stand-outs include Sarah McKenna, Taylor Mickelson and Lotti Sidwell as Cinderella’s perhaps not-so-wicked relatives; Dallin Clark as a nervous social reformer; and Kyle Cottam as a nefarious royal advisor.
Recognizing that lavish costumes play a critical role in the success of Cinderella, director Kody Rash decided to design them himself. A skilled team of seamstresses – Mary Savage, Kim Rash, Melissa Hamilton, Jolene Jacobs, Jessi Thompson and Paulette McKenna – beautifully translated those designs into royal retainers’ uniforms and sumptuous ball gowns. Rash’s designs for costumes for Ms. Duffin and Ms. Huff that transformed from drab to glamorous on-stage in the wink of an eye were even more impressive.
Imaginative set designs by Lineset Design & Fabrication also contributed to the musical’s dreamlike ambiance. That was especially true of Cinderella’s crowd-pleasing coach and horses.
Performances of Cinderella are slated through Oct.16 at Sky View High School in Smithfield.