The Other Cinderella | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Other Cinderella

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The Other Cinderella, Black Ensemble Theater. In the Kingdom of Other, everyone's got soul--except for the petulant Cinderella (Kylah Williams), a 21-year-old from the projects. She feels trapped living with her cantankerous post office-employee stepmother (Qween Roy Wicks) and querulous--but very funny--stepsisters (the sassy duo of Eva D. and Jocelyn Winston, who add spice to every scene they're in). Eventually, thanks to a Jamaican Godmamma (Deanna K. Reed), Cinderella finds spirit--and her prince (the handsome but stilted Terry Price, reprising the role).

Writer-director Jackie Taylor has revived this musical every other year since 1976. And though it's worn well, it could use some editing. Every character, no matter how unimportant, has his or her own song or sings in a duet, and there's an odd scene at the end where Dorothy (Cathleen Chapek) from The Wizard of Oz shows up at the ball to petition for citizenship. Also, the king (Jason Smith) decides the prince is weak and unmanly and needs a wife because he hangs out with a gay duke's son (a character we never see). Such stereotypes seem strange in a musical about acceptance.

The ensemble's voices, however, are stunning, especially when they sing with one another. And the dance breaks add fire.

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