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Saturday, February 24

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Theatre Thu Oct 28 2010

The Other Cinderella

Center - Lawrence Williams and Candace Edwards.jpg

The Other Cinderella

Jackie Taylor's The Other Cinderella takes the classic fairytale "Cinderella" and gives it a serious serving of soul.

The Other Cinderella, a long-time staple of Taylor's Black Ensemble Theater repertoire (the show was originally performed in 1976), is the story of Cinderella, of course, but with a completely different twist: This Cinderella (Candace Edwards) grew up in public housing, bravely sasses her stepmother and stepsisters, and is in no way passive or timid as the original.

In The Other Cinderella, the core elements of the original story remain intact; the only difference is the kingdom dwellers are from "the 'hood."

In Taylor's version, "The Kingdom of Other" is a land ruled by a black king and queen, where the evil stepmother Theresa (Rhonda Preston) works at the post office, the stepsisters Geneva and Margarite (played exceptionally well by Robin Beaman and Katrina Miller, respectively) are "ghetto fabulous," and the palace servant, Page (Rueben Echoles) listens and dances to rap music.

What was especially noticeable in Taylor's production were the carefully placed contemporary references throughout the play: From the infusion of soul, doo-wop, hip hop and R&B music, Margarite's wish that hot wings were served at the ball, Page suggesting that the kingdom be contacted via Facebook rather than by a traditional telegram, and the fairy godmother sending a stretch Hummer instead of a coach to pick up Cinderella, there was no denying that was certainly a different kind of fairy tale.

While the play certainly had its fair share of humorous moments, social messages, specifically classism, were also evident through Page, who, although happy with his position at the palace, refused to "forget where he came from," and instead of abandoning his old friends, simply brought the 'hood to the palace.

Of course, there have certainly been other modern versions of "Cinderella"; however, none could possibly embody a more soulful spirit than Taylor's The Other Cinderella.

The Other Cinderella runs through January 9, (extended until) January 23, 2011 at The Black Ensemble Theater, 4520 N. Beacon St. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays, 3pm. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at the box office or online. For more information, contact the theater at 773-769-4451.

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Stephanie! / October 28, 2010 12:56 AM

My late fiance was in an early performance of this play - sometime in the early 90s, I believe. But I have yet to see it! Thanks for the review!

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Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
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