Adrian Arrieta, left, Kecia Lewis & Paige Faure in the national tour of "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella," presented by Pittsburgh CLO at the Benedum Center Tuesday through next Sunday.
Adrian Arrieta, left, Paige Faure and Blakely Slaybaugh bring fairy-tale magic to the stage in the national tour of "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella."
Paige Faure plays the title role in the national tour of "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella."
By Sharon Eberson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
You might say that Cinderella is having a moment, if she had ever been away for longer than it takes to say, “happily ever after.”
On the big screen, the Rob Marshall-directed “Into the Woods,” with a Cinderella ambivalent about her prince, was a hit movie last year, and Disney released a Kenneth Branagh-directed live-action “Cinderella” last year. Kathleen Marshall has been developing a stage version of the film “Ever After,” and, on Broadway, “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” had all the fol-de-rol and fiddle-dee-dee of the original plus a few plot twists, with Douglas Carter Beane revamping the book by Oscar Hammerstein.
That show, featuring William Ivey Long’s Tony Award-winning costumes, ended its two-year New York run in January and launched the national tour that appears at the Benedum Center Tuesday through next Sunday. .
‘Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella’
Where: Pittsburgh CLO at the Benedum Center, Downtown.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. next Sunday.
Tickets: $20-$90.75; trustarts.org or 412-456-6666.
The star of the tour is Paige Faure, anything but your typical Cinderella.
Ms. Faure had the title role of Ella toward the end of the Broadway run, then packed up her 2½-year-old son, Hank, bid farewell to her husband, Adam Monley, of Broadway’s “Les Miserables” (in the role of Bishop of Digne), and hit the road in the tour.
When Ella’s story starts, she is not yet the empowered person she will become, and Ms. Faure said she sometimes has to struggle with “that impulse in me to just make change.”
“Even when the fairy godmother turns her from a peasant into a princess, she’s still questioning. For all of us, it’s not that easy to just get a makeover and everything’s fine. It takes work and repeated encouragement, and I think that connects with a lot of women,” she said. “Even the most confident of us have moments when we were seated alone in our own little corner [song reference intended] and going, ‘Can I do this? Do I dare to dream? Am I worthy of getting what I dream of?’ ”
Ms. Faure is living her musical theater dreams these days, despite the chaos of traveling with a toddler. Her mother, mother-in-law and a couple of nannies have helped, and she and Mr. Monley have been finding their way to each other as their schedules allow.
“I’d be lying if I said it isn’t tough,” she said. “It’s a lot of balancing schedules and making sure eating habits stay good. It’s hard enough for me to eat well, let alone keeping a toddler well-fed and figuring out where he sleeps, how he sleeps, baby-proofing hotel rooms. … They say it takes a village; I am employing my village.”
She doesn’t want anyone to think she’s ungrateful. There are perks of the road as well.
“It’s been a very lucky year for us as actors,” she continued, “but quite a juggling act to make sure that our family is still No. 1. It’s been an adventure. We’ve had some really great times, too. We all got to sit out and eat oysters in Seattle by the bay and lay out on the beach in Miami, things we wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for this touring opportunity.”
Ms. Faure was on the phone as she recalled her previous visit to Pittsburgh, with the tour of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” She had “some great crowd experiences” at the Benedum Center, which has one of the largest backstage areas in the country.
“That is so welcome on tour. We’re in Cleveland, and you play these old vaudeville houses, and they have so much history but very, very, very little space. We’re kinda squished like mice backstage.”
Coming from a small space to a large one and back again has presented challenges particular to this show and the ingenious costume changes that happen before our eyes. Suffice it to say it takes more than the wave of a fairy godmother’s wand or the push of a button to change Ella’s rags to a gown fit for a princess.
“If only!” Ms. Faure exclaimed. On Broadway, things were always in the same place, but a new technique had to be created for performing on a variety of stages. “Without giving too much away, we had to keep the magic between me and my dresser. I have actually a lot more work to do on the road, but I think the payoff is even greater. It’s a little bit of an anxiety attack every night, but that’s what makes it fun.”
Most changes from the Broadway production “are very minimal,” she said. There’s a peasant revolt to contend with in Mr. Beane’s version of the fairy tale, and Ella has a lot of evolving to do — besides the clothes and accoutrements — before she can come into her own.
The actress doesn’t take lightly the “Cinderella” purists or fans of the TV movies, with Lesley Ann Warren in 1965 and the Whitney Houston-Brandy version of the late 1990s.
“We have all the things you expect — there’s the glass slippers, there’s the magic. But somehow we’re able to still surprise people and take what could be a vanilla makeover story and present something as colorful as the costumes that William Ivey Long designed,” she said.
“I think we really have done a great job about giving every character a bit more depth and excitement and make it a bit more real. Of course it’s set in this fairy-tale land, and there are castles and pumpkins that turn into carriages. But at the same time, this makes it feel attainable and that, with your own curiosity and sense of trying to make good in the world, you, too, can achieve great things.”
Sharon Eberson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1960. Twitter: SEberson_pg.
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