Little girls decked out in ballgowns and princess costumes holding hands with mothers, ladies’ night outings, grandmothers and granddaughters–that was to be expected as we entered the lobby of Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, VA for Wednesday night’s performance of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, but the theme of our night was:
“I didn’t expect that.”
A few months before Christmas when I heard Cinderella was coming to Chrysler Hall, instantly, I knew we had to go. Parker, as many of you who read this blog know, is a HUGE princess fan. While he loves them all immensely, Cinderella is hands down his favorite. Tickets seemed like the perfect Christmas gift.
Believe it or not, none of my family had ever been to a Broadway production before. Sure, they’ve seen shows at theme parks and Holden’s been forced to sit through high school Christmas productions, but I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a little nervous about sitting through a real, award-winning, intermission-having full-length show, especially with Holden rolling his eyes about it (his new favorite thing, even though he doesn’t know how to properly roll his eyes so it’s equal parts obnoxious and hilarious). How would it go? Would they enjoy it? Is Holden going to lock his eyes into rolled-back position from the romance and dancing and magic?
After working a little magic, I got an e-mail from the lovely people with SevenCities Venues letting me know that Parker was going to have the opportunity to interview Kaitlyn Davidson-the actress who plays Cinderella- before the show. The second I told him, he excitedly jumped up and got to work thinking of things he wanted to ask her. I offered to help him with his interview questions, but he insisted on writing all of them himself (I also offered to let Holden write questions, but was met with another failed eye-roll).
Then came the night of the show. Parker got himself all fancied up (even requesting his hair in a pony-tail), grabbed his handwritten questions, and we were on our way… only to get stuck in a disgusting downpour, having me question why I even bothered to do my hair.
Luckily, the feeling inside Chrysler Hall was much brighter (and dryer- since their parking is underneath the venue. THANK YOU!)
We were ushered around the back, through a door and past so many beautiful costumes until we found the dressing rooms.
I have to say, I had a pretty proud mommy moment. He asked the perfect questions for someone who has never attended a Broadway show before. As a decent writer and crappy interviewer myself, I don’t have her exact answers written down, but I can tell you what we all learned from his awesome interview skills.
It was hard not to notice the elephant in the dressing room- the famous ballgown! White, not blue, and 18 pounds of tulle and crystal. The boys asked all about how hard it is to weird, and Kaitlyn said not nearly as heavy as the wedding dress- which is 28 pounds. Looks of mystification crossed their faces. Welcome to being a woman, boys.
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As we walked out of the dressing room, we came face to face with the infamous golden carriage. It’s one thing to tell the boys about it, or to see it in pictures, but when you see it in person, it truly is magical.
Though he was still rolling his eyes, I think that was a game-changer for Holden.
We were ushered into the theater by the super-kind staff of Chrysler Hall and to our seats. Now, I scored some amazing seats, but Chrysler Hall is the kind of place that no matter where you’re sitting, you get the “best seat in the house” experience. Every seat is a good seat.
The lights go down, music begins, and the audience is brought to a hush as the age-old tale of Cinderella is brought to life in front of them.
Cinderella, to me, was never a tale about a poor orphaned girl who needed to be saved by a prince from her evil Stepmother. It is the tale of a woman who has been mistreated by the people who are supposed to be her family after her parents die, and no matter what happens, still has enough kindness to help those less fortunate than her. Who isn’t a damsel in distress, but a woman who is brave enough to stand up for herself.
Just like Kaitlyn told us before the show, there are many different versions of Cinderella- and this is NOT the Disney version (old or new). In Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, she doesn’t just stand up for herself, she stands up for those who are suffering at the hands of Prince Topher’s ( the charismatic Andy Huntington Jones) adviser.
Now, I don’t want to give too much away because I think you absolutely need to experience it for yourself, but let me say that there is no more perfect Cinderella than Kaitlyn Davidson. From the way she holds herself, to her voice that cuts through a theater with strength and sweetness.
The sets are fantastic, the special effects or wow-worthy (Parker was mystified by the horses & carriage). The characters, from the townsfolk all the way to the evil step sisters have so much chemistry, you truly believe them in their parts. The costumes… I can’t say enough about them, and the choreography makes you want to dance right along with them
Let me warn you, intermission is short, and while you’ll be happy to get right back into the magic, if you have to go to the restroom, run. If you want to grab a snack, do it quickly. I’ve never seen my kid shove a Twizzler in his face so fast.
After the intermission, I think, is where the cast really shines. Crowd favorite- evil Stepsister Charlotte (Aymee Garcia) and Lord Pinkleton (Chauncey Packer) really brought the house down with laughter. Yes, laughter! Just one of the many wonderful surprises waiting for you.
Now, we all know how Cinderella ends–with a happily ever after–but you will not be bored with watching how they get there.
My favorite part of the show, though, wasn’t watching the action on the stage. It was glancing over at my eye-rolling eight year old and watching him get lost in the show, laughing, and smiling, and clapping. There truly is something for everyone, even the ones who claim it’s “too girly.”
As the cast took their final bow (to a standing ovation)- and my family turned to me and said
“I didn’t expect it to be so funny”
“I didn’t expect to like it so much”
“I didn’t expect her to take the shoe!”
I realized the words in the songs we’d just heard were true- Anything is possible. But you won’t know if you don’t go and see it, so grab your tickets!
Tickets are on sale now at the Scope Arena, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.sevenvenues.com.
Friday, Feb 5, 2016 8:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 6, 2016 2:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 6, 2016 8:00 PM
Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 1:00 PM
Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 6:30 PM
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is in tour, and may be coming to a city near you! Check the website to find out!
Thank you so much to Ma’rie Thomas, those involved with Chrysler Hall, Cinderella, and Kaitlyn Davidson for making this possible!
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