Some Saturday mornings are for pajamas and pancakes.
Others are for ball gowns and glass slippers.
This weekend I brought my youngest theatre fan and two of her friends (all dressed like royalty in spite of pouring rain) to see an adorable one-hour adaptation of Cinderella at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Like all of the theatre’s “Pyramid Players” productions, this was just perfect for young audiences: LOTS of humor, a quick pace from “once upon a time” until “happily ever after,” a talented and high-energy cast, a familiar fairy tale with a few fun surprise twists, plus a juice box and Rice Krispie treat to keep little mouths happy. Perfection!
(Side note – I realized as the show was starting that it’s been nearly 10 years since I performed for the first time at Beef & Boards, in a Pyramid Players production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I love that this kind of sweet introduction to live theatre is available to kids in Central Indiana!)
We all had a great time, but for different reasons. As it turns out, all four of us in my group had a different favorite part of the show!
A KING OF COMEDY
My little girl, Daisy, was most impressed the talented comedic powerhouse John Vessels (I CAN NOT get enough of you on stage, my friend!) as the loveable and thickly bespectacled “King Darling.” He had the kids gasping and giggling as he mistook his “royal guards” for ladies at the ball, and teetered close to the stage with his many near-misses. (Tonight at home while re-living the show, Daisy tried to do an impression of King Darling and executed a pretty awesome pratfall into the laundry room. Johnny V., you may have a young protégé on your hands!)
DANCER FLOOR “DON’TS”
Our little friend Keira was especially fond of Cinderella’s mean stepsisters – especially their insanely awkward, gravity-defying dance moves at the ball. The fun and fabulous Fairy Godmother conjured up a unique spell in lieu of revenge: making the stepsisters sneeze whenever they danced. The audience sneeze-along was definitely a highlight for the young fans!
THE WORLD’S SWEETEST PRINCESS
Daisy’s sweet-as-pie friend Ava did not surprise me when she chose her favorite character in the show: the heroine, Cinderella. She would be an obvious pick for any little girl because of her amazing gown and glass slippers, OR because of her beautiful voice (nicely done, Emily Hollowell!) But Ava was looking beneath the beautiful surface for what impressed her most: “Because she is so sweet and kind!” (The last time I shared the stage with Emily, she was nursing a mortal gunshot wound on the barricade as Eponine in Les Miserables at the Civic Theatre, so it was kind of a relief to see her as a glammed-up princess with killer shoes instead of an impoverished, heartsick, dying street urchin.)
A BRUSH WITH THE STARS
As much as I love to admire the talented actors, the beautiful costumes and the fun choreography, I find that my favorite thing at Beef & Boards’ kids’ productions is to watch the little ones become totally star-struck when they have encounters with the cast. Beef & Boards does a great job moving actors through the aisles and creating moments where they interact with the audience. (Daisy was definitely sticking her glittery shoe outwards with high hopes when Prince Charming was searching the kingdom for the maiden whose foot would fit in the glass slipper!) It was adorable watching little girls have their magical moment. The cast also stays after the show to sign autographs, pose for photos and chat with their young fans. Cinderella and the Prince were just amazing at making every little fan feel special.
I wish this cast a magical run, and hope that lots of little fans will get swept up in this show’s spell!
Cinderella runs through March 17. Pyramid Players productions at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre are one hour in length and presented without intermission. Children have the opportunity to meet the cast after each show for pictures and autographs. Performances take place at 10 a.m. on Fridays and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. All tickets are $16.50 and include a snack. For reservations, contact the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information or complete show schedule, visit www.beefandboards.com.