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‘Cinderella and Fella’ Delights Young and Old Alike

2017 March 23

No matter what your age or how often you’ve seen “Cinderella,” the world premiere of “Cinderella and Fella” will surprise you and fill you with joy and laughter. (The above video does not do it justice.) The script, singing and acting are excellent, and the performance by Queen Shelayley (Courtenay Collins) is reason enough to see this show.

The action takes place in a forest on the outskirts of a town called Kashoogie, where Cinderella (India S. Tyree) has just manually dragged her tiny house up to a forest filled with streams, kudzu, magnolias, wisteria, and lightning bugs. Her step-mother (Terry Burrell), step-sister, Vamnesia (Molly Coyne) and step-brother, Lavoris (Brian Walker), step outside of the house and read the announcement posted on a nearby tree. A “Boy Be Gonna” event will be held at the castle, where the prince will choose someone to become his cohort to live and travel with him for a year.

Back at the prince’s palace, Queen Shelayley dotes on Prince Maurice (Jeremiah Parker Hobbs) like a bubbale, fearing for each cough, germ, or item he touches that might harm him. Later, after his mother has sent him to his room, he considers aloud to himself why he should go outside anyway and quickly recalls a litany of all the things that could injure him. He sounds very much like little Peggy Ann McKay from Shel Silverstein’s poem “Sick” and it’s quite amusing.

Animal puppets, including a turtle (Scott E. DePoy) and a jive-talking frog, come to life to help Cinderella. Speaking of puppets, there’s a twist on the “Avenue Q” hit “It Sucks to be Me,” featuring Cinderella and Prince Maurice singing “How Cool It Must Be (to be you).” All the music is wonderful. Step Mom sings “I Must Love You Very Much” after prohibiting Cinderella from attending the gala. Cinderella belts out a soulful song, “I Got This,” Queen Shelalyley sings an operatic number, and Prince Maurice plays guitar and sings like a rock star. This is a feel-good show for happiness.

Book and additional lyrics by Janece Shaffer, music, lyrics and musical direction by S. Renee Clark, directed by Rosemary Newcott, “Cinderella and Fella” runs through April 9 at the Alliance Theatre.

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