Prepare to Alter Your Preconceived Notions of the Classically Dutiful Prince Charming and Cinderella.
A new rendition of the timeless fairytale recently debuted on the Broadway stage. Famed composer Andrew Lloyd brought the musical from London’s West End stateside to delight and enchant new audiences with surprisingly entertaining twists to the story.
And If you follow or even write about Broadway as I do, you may have read that ‘Bad Cinderella’ took a lashing from the press for deviating from the original story. Or that the casting wasn’t traditional. Traditional in the sense that it wasn’t an all-white cast or didn’t follow the boy-meets-girl or boy-saves-girl formula often beaten to a pulp in storytelling. Instead, boy-and- girl save one another.
Andrew Lloyd Webber took a chance on casting the first Latina to play the lead as Cinderella, Linedy Genao (Dear Evan Hansen, In the Heights), and her love interest, Prince Sebastian is African-American, played by Jordan Dobson (Hadestown, A Beautiful Noise). In the musical, Dobson is Prince Charming’s uncharismatic socially-awkward brother, while Prince Charming is revered, perfectly chiseled, and slain at war — or was he?
The story follows Cinderella, a scruffy, leather-wearing outcast who doesn’t adhere to Belleville’s (the fictitious kingdom in the musical) societal rules of beauty and fitting in. She’s a misfit. Constant troublemaker. Someone who talks back to her stepmother and vandalizes Prince Charming’s statute with the words: Beauty Sucks! Though deep down she longs to be accepted and find people who love her as she is, Cinderella finds solace in her friendship with Prince Sebastian since they were kids. But their infatuation for one another is threatened when Prince Sebastian’s mother, the Queen, decides to marry him off to a maiden in Belleville. Cinderella comes to a cross-road. I won’t spoil what happens next.
But here are some highlights worth mentioning:
Bad Cinderella, written by Academy-Award-winning screenwriter Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman, Killing Eve), does take liberties with the dialogue. Phrases such as “Badass” and “You’re giving peasant” are part of the musical’s lexicon. Or the chorus, known as the Hunks, played by shirtless, buff male dancers gloriously basking in objectification. Lastly, when the seemingly ominous fairy godmother, played by Christina Acosta Robinson (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), states she doesn’t perform plastic surgery. It’s reflective of the modern age we live in. Isn’t it?
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical numbers: “Only You, Lonely You” and “Far Too Late,” sung by Dobson and Genao, will trigger your emotions. The wickedly sassy number: “I Know You,” sung by the Stepmother, Carolee Carmello (Lestat, Finding Neverland), and the Queen, Grace McLean (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), is a scene stealer. McLean and Carmello are intoxicatingly devilish in these roles — and they know it!
The set and costume design (by Gabriela Tylesova) is an extension of each character in this colorful and charming musical — intricately woven props adding drama and tension to each scene.
Bad Cinderella is worth the ride into the world of reenvisioned fairytales. The characters are memorable. Each of their quirky nuances melds into a unique story. Playing at the Imperial Theatre, Bad Cinderella runs for two hours and thirty minutes with one intermission and will be on Broadway through September 2023. Get your tickets now!
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by David Zippel. Book by Emerald Fennell and Alexis Scheer. Directed by Laurence Connor. Choreography, Joann M. Hunter; sets and costumes, Gabriela Tylesova; lights, Bruno Poet; sound, Gareth Owen; hair and wigs, Luc Verschueren; U.S. music supervision and direction, Kristen Blodgette; production stage manager Bonnie L. Becker.
Cast: Linedy Genao, Jordan Dobson, Carolee Carmello, Grace McLean, Sami Gayle, Morgan Higgins, Cameron Loyal, Christina Acosta Robinson. Savy Jackson, Raymond Baynard, Mike Baerga, Lauren Boyd, Tristen Buettel, Kaleigh Cronin, Josh Drake, Ben Lanham, Ángel Lozada, Cameron Loyal, Mariah Lyttle, Sarah Meahl, Christian Probst, Larkin Reilly, Julio Rey, Lily Rose, J. Savage, Tregony Shepherd, Dave Schoonover, Paige Smallwood, Aléna Watters, Alyssa Carol, Gary Cooper, Robin Masella, Michael Milkanin, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, Lucas Thompson.
All Photos By Bad Cinderella’s PR Team.