Have a ball watching musical 'Cinderella'

November 17, 1995|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Moonlight Troupers productions at Anne Arundel Community College tend to be colorful, adroitly mounted affairs that make full use of the Pascal Center's considerable facilities.

The group's version of "Cinderella," the made-for-TV Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that opened last weekend, fits the profile. Barbara Marder's costumes are lovely, Peter Kaiser's sets and lights are exemplary, and director Robert Kauffman has everyone moving smartly and acting quite nicely.

Renee Tilton is sweet as sugar in the title role. John Wilburt, her Prince, is a handsome, virile enough presence on stage.

Many laughs are provided by Catherine Robinson and Claire Plummer as the wonderfully snotty stepsisters, who will snort, whine and sneer their way into your hearts as they did mine. You'll want to throttle them by play's end.

Their mother, played delightfully by Judy Smith, proves categorically that acorns don't fall far from the tree.

There are also nice dramatic bits from E. David Parker and Natalie Steffen as the Prince's royal parents.

The problems this "Cinderella" runs into are musical in nature. No one ever will confuse the score with those of "Carousel" or "Oklahoma," but songs such as "Ten Minutes Ago," "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful" and "In My Own Little Corner" are amiable enough to put the show across. But they caused this cast and orchestra some problems.

Virtually all of the underscoring is way too loud; important dialogue is wiped out by the orchestra as a matter of course. The Prince sings well enough in his lower register but can't begin to hit the high notes in "Do I Love You."

Pitch problems beset the King and Queen all through their snoozy Act I duet, "Boys and Girls Like You and Me."

I don't mean to carp excessively. There are nice musical %J moments, many of them provided by Ms. Tilton's sweet soprano voice, but with such high dramatic and technical skills in evidence, other problems stand out all the more.

I can report, though, that the large opening-night house enjoyed the show immensely.

"Cinderella" plays this weekend at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

For reservations or information, call (410) 541-2457

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