Editor’s note: This story includes plot spoilers of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
There was no denying the ageless love for the fairytale Friday night at the Schuster Center for the performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
Girls aged three to 10 were decked out in princess costumes and tiaras, while older girls and women dressed more maturely, but were still there for the same reason: to watch the story of Cinderella come to life.
While this revival nailed all of the iconic songs and scenes—and included a fair share of satire and adult humor—its plotline deviated greatly from the beloved fairy tale.
This “Cinderella” told a more political and feminist modern tale.
One of the first scenes shows the kingdom’s poorest region, where a new character named Jean-Michel, the town firebrand, tells everyone they must stand up for their rights on account of their land being taken from them.
The production starts with a scene where Cinderella receives a book about the fascinating and exotic places of the world. It is from this book that Cinderella learns about the outside world and later uses its knowledge to help others.
And Cinderella gets to know the prince as a friend before she becomes his princess bride (pun intended) and helps make major decisions about how to run the kingdom. Throughout the tale, the subjects of the kingdom eventually have their voices heard.
This tale’s focus on the people’s rights and the independence of women is a bold step to take with such a classic, feel-good fairytale—but a positive one, given gender issues in the world today.
The production also features some other changes for the better.
One such element is a more in-depth look into the backstory of the prince, Topher.
This version features no king or queen, so Topher must lead the kingdom on his own, leaving him to struggle with his responsibility and identity throughout the play.
There is also a side-story that focuses on the romance between the stepsister, Gabrielle, and Jean-Michel, which reveals early in the production that Gabrielle is capable of love, no matter the man’s status, unlike her cruel sister and mother.
But none of these changes add up to the biggest plot twist of the production.
In the iconic ball scene—when Cinderella drops a glass slipper on the stair—instead of fleeing into the night, Cinderella and the prince pause and glance at each other…then Cinderella grabs the slipper and runs.
In the second act, the rest of the story unfolds as Topher searches day and night for Cinderella, finally holding a banquet in the hope that she will come.
This time, Cinderella comes but is disguised as a commoner and leaves her glass slipper on the stair just for the prince.
Finally, Topher holds a shoe fitting at the castle, where the timeless glass slipper is put on and all comes to a happy end.
Even with the emphasis on the latest and greatest and political, the classic fairy tale of Cinderella still endures.
“Cinderella” plays for the last time tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Schuster Center, 1 W. 2nd St.