Windsor Light Music Theatre (WLMT) triumphantly returned to the stage with a stunning rendition of Cinderella after almost two years of waiting for lockdown limits to relax. You could sense the anticipation from the cast, crew, the audience and the venue as the lights dimmed as Amber Thibert pranced around the stage as Cinderella.
The company had originally planned to perform Cinderella in November 2020, but COVID-19 hindered that plan. Cinderella marks the company’s return to live theatre.
For this musical, director Mario Caschera selected the 1957 Rogers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella, which is based on the original folk tale of the same name. It originally made its debut as a made-for-TV musical in 1957.
Cinderella is about the most classic of the classic fairy tales, so even though it’s been performed countless times all over the world, there’s a certain level of expectation for such a glamorously iconic story. Through the use of several quick set changes, some fancy costumes and two very special spinning dresses that transform from peasant to pleasant, Windsor Light achieves some magic with this performance.
Thibert was a deliciously gorgeous Cinderella – she gave the seminal character some grace under pressure charm that would win any prince over. Her voice shone on songs like My Own Little Corner, in which the character finds comfort through imagination.
As theatre goers might recall, Windsor Light shows also come with fairly large casts and crew – on this front, Cinderella is no different. The massive production included 25 on stage performers and a backstage crew of more than 50. With such a large production, nearly every one in the audience could probably recognize at least one person involved.
The musical highlight, The Prince Is Giving A Ball, came early as was carried through reprises and ongoing jokes. The song kicks off the story when, in honor of Prince Topher (Jason Andrew)’s birthday, the King and Queen are hosting a ball for the whole kingdom, where the Prince hopes to meet his future bride. Andrew and the male ensemble sounded about as big and confident as any Broadway version of the show – complete with stellar choreography from Kate Reive.
Stephanie Allen Santos was delightful as the Fairy Godmother – I never knew she had such a powerful voice; and Norma Coleman just killed it as Madame, the evil stepmother. Both of these incredible performers are worth the price of admission on their own – Santos was the loveliest when she twirled in her beat up dress that turned into a beautiful gown, while Coleman is, by far and away, the best actress to ever tackle the role of the stepmother – she was superb in every single way.
One of the best parts of a Windsor Light show is always the most hidden – it’s live orchestra nestled in the theatre’s pit in front of the stage. Musical director Nicholas Morvay brought this show to a completely different level with the 15-person choir and live orchestra accompaniment.
Live theatre returns to the Chrysler Theatre stage in style with Windsor Light Music Theatre’s version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, with further shows this weekend May 13, 14 and 15 at the Chrysler Theatre in Windsor. Tickets are available for those shows online. For more about Windsor Light Music Theatre, visit their website.