It’s that happy time again. Time to pre-soak your fairy costumes, dust off the plastic crowns, load your camera with fresh batteries and escort your little prince or princess to the Glendale Centre Theatre for a special kind of fun. They will love it. I know because when I explained to one young theater-goer that I was taking notes to write a review, she told me to say the show was “great.” Therefore, the following review is meant for moms, dads, grandparents and anyone else over the age of 18 who cherishes time spent with children. “Cinderella” has a lot for you, too.
Much of what the grown-ups will treasure arrives in the second act. The first act is cluttered with a few too many needless explanations about Who wants What and Why they want it. After all, who doesn’t know that Cinderella (a lovely Stephanie Skewes) is a sweet young girl being cruelly treated by her Wicked Stepmother (all-pro Tiffany LaBarbera Palmer)?
And what better way to escape a life of misery than catching the eye of kindly Prince Alec (writer-director Patrick McMahon)? Maybe fairy tales really do teach us life lessons. From a parent’s perspective, there's enough in this basic plot to spend at least 30 minutes talking it over with the kids.
It’s during the second act that the stage literally lights up. This act is packed with the funniest lines (“Patience is a virtue — one of the only virtues I care about teaching you.”), wickedest deeds, best songs (“I Dreamed of You” is ready for the Pop Top Ten), and happiest of endings.
As good as the ensemble is as a whole, Amber Barnard shines as Cinderella’s faithful friend, Antoine the talking mouse, singing, dancing, acting and tumbling her way into little hearts. Delightful also is Tosca Minotto as the not-so-wicked stepsister Lydia. Technical honors belong to choreographer Paul Reid and costumer Angela Wood for keeping the dances interesting and the action colorful.
But wait. There’s more. At the end of every GTC children’s show the actors meet and greet their adoring fans out in the lobby. Each performer seems genuinely delighted to sign autographs and pose for pictures. And standing patiently amid the laughter and the smiles, holding onto coats, cameras and sparkle toys, are the loving grown-ups who make it all possible.
MARY BURKIN of Burbank is an actress, playwright and Glendale lawyer.
What: “Cinderella” by Patrick McMahon, music by Andrew Villaverde, lyrics by Tosca Minotto
When: 11 a.m. Saturdays through June 25
Where: Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale
Tickets: $13 adults, $11.50 children
Phone: (818) 244-8481