The “Cinderella” adaptation beautifully simplified the story with their magical styling and staging.
The classic fairytale of Cinderella centers around the kind-hearted but mistreated Cinderella. She is a beautiful girl who is bullied by her stepmother and ugly stepsisters. However, on the night of the prince’s ball, her fairy godmother shows up and magically transforms her rags into a beautiful ball gown. At the ball, she meets her prince, and after an unfortunate shoe incident, they live happily ever after.
Tulsa Ballet’s production of “Cinderella” showed a simpler version of the classic Cinderella fairytale. It is not a major motion picture “Cinderella,” but the story stripped down to its most simple and elegant. This ballet was performed in three acts, which was a nice change of pace. The two intermissions helped build suspense for the audience, and made the magical production feel longer than it actually was. The music used in the ballet is not the light, whimsical music that is usually associated with Cinderella. The music was more intense and heavy, which created a darker, more serious tone for the ballet.
The ballet’s timeline took place the night of the fateful ball. It begins with Cinderella’s family getting ready for the ball. The stepmother is knitting, and the ugly stepsisters are teasing Cinderella’s father mercilessly, who is still alive, unlike in the movie versions. The stepsisters are portrayed by men, a refreshing gender-role reversal. They are dressed up as extremely unattractive females with clownish stage makeup. They are clumsy, very dumb and hilarious. Their antics were an audience favorite.
The stepmother and sisters are abusive toward Cinderella and her father. The two have a loving relationship, but the father is portrayed as a weak character who cannot really stand up for himself and his daughter. They have beautiful moments together in the first act where they look at a portrait of Cinderella’s mother and cry over their loss.
The first act concludes with Cinderella meeting her fairy godmother, who enlists the help of the seasons in this enchanting number to get Cinderella ready for the ball. Cinderella’s dirty rags are transformed into a beautiful pink tutu for her to go to the ball. The change of dress color was a departure from the movie versions and a little disappointing for audience members who were expecting the classic blue dress. However, the white pumpkin carriage was immense and magical and did not disappoint. It was led by dancers dressed up as horses and it was everything the audience expected out of a magical carriage to carry Cinderella to the ball.
Act two consisted of the ball scene. The court jester began the act with jumps and acrobats. He was highlighted in this scene and through the ball sequence and had a hilarious role interacting with the guests by playing matchmaker and making fun of the ugly stepsisters. The stepsisters each had uproariously awful solos much to the delight of the audience.
The ball scene also included a part where the prince handed out oranges to all of the ladies at the ball. This was a fun historical tidbit included in the program, which said, “Oranges were the rarest fruit in the land.” It brought some reality to the story and tied in nicely.
Cinderella’s entrance to the ball was grand and magical, just like “Cinderella” is supposed to be. During Cinderella and the prince’s dance, one could tell they had chemistry, and it was beautiful to watch them fall in love through their dance. At the end of Act two, the clock strikes midnight, and Cinderella departs from the ball in tears.
Act three opened back at the stepmother’s house. Coming home from the ball, the ugly stepsisters taunt Cinderella and her father, but finally Cinderella and her father manage to get the upper hand. As the argument concludes, the prince comes in with his entourage and the shoe. After the stepsisters try on the shoe, the prince realizes Cinderella is his true love when she reveals the shoe is the one she had from the ball.
Act three concluded with the prince finding Cinderella and the two living happily ever after. In this version, Cinderella forgives her mother and ugly stepsisters, and the prince finds the two lovable dummies husbands. It concludes with a grand wedding scene that embodied the magic of the classic “Cinderella.”
Tulsa Ballet’s performance of “Cinderella” was for one weekend only, but there are still a couple of more opportunities to see them before their season concludes. Their Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase is April 13 – 15. They conclude their season with their Signature series May 3 – 6.