Cinderella at the El Portal Theatre - An Exceptional Humorous Retelling

Cinderella: Veronica Dunne as Cinderella


Fit for Broadway, the extravagant new comedic musical version of the fairy tale Cinderella opened at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood on Saturday, November 27, 2010.  Done in the form of British Panto (pantomine), the interactive, somewhat improvised, play will keep you in stitches.   The audience had fun booing when the evil sisters came into the scenes and cheering for Cinderella.  

Cinderella: Jennifer Leigh Warren as Fairy Godmother


The original story of Cinderella does not originate with Disney, as most people think.  Instead  the theme came from classic antiquity.  The Greek historian Strabo in th first century BC, recorded the Greco- Egyptian tale of the young girl Rhodopis, a rosy cheeked girl who lived in the Greek conly of Naucratis in Ancient Egypt.  This is considered the oldest version of the story.  However, the most popular version was penned in 1697 by Charles Perrault.  It was he who added the fairy godmother, the pumpkin and the glass slippers.  

Cinderella: Prince Charming, (Freddy Stoma) and Dandini (James May)


Produced by Lythgoe Family Productions, Magic Pictures International, and Jason Haigh Ellery,   Cinderella stars Jerry Mathers from Leave It To Beaver (Baron Hardup), Freddie Stroma of Harry Potter fame (Prince Charming), Jennifer Leigh Warren (Fairy Godmother) , Benny Harris (Buttons) , Eddie Drisoll (evil sister Cowel) , Mark Edgar Stephens (evil sister Seecrest), James May (Dandini) , Little Man (Blitzen, the horse) and introducing young Veronica Dunne (Cinderella.)

Cinderella: Cinderella and her evil sisters - Seecrest (Eddie Driscoll) and Cowel (Mark Edgar Stephens)


Sixteen year old Veronica Dunne, a sophmore at Oaks Christian High School in Malibu, was chosen out of 780 girls. The search was conducted by some of the sponsors- Neil Patrick Harris, Kara DioGuardi and Mary Murphy.  .  Not only is she beautiful but she can sing and dance, as well.  Other dancers included Lindsay Arnold, Tanisha Belnap, Witney Carson, Jonathan Platero, Jesus Solorio, Bri Tarleton and Brittany Cheery as well as numerous adorable children from the Pink Team doing ballet and acrobatics.  The kids were Flynn Janger, Jamie Meyer, Mikaela Meyer, Scout Sklarew, Molly Stone, McKaylee True, and Maddy Wuchenich.  

Cinderella:Buttons with audience kids


The play, directed by Bonnie Lythgoe and written by Kris Lythgoe, has numerous Hollywood in jokes. Children may not understand them but the adults certainly will.  Wonderful dancing was choreographed by Mark  Ballas with Andrew Street being the musical director. Nancy Severinsen was the Musical Supervisor.   Favorite songs mixed in with the performance included California Gurls, Just Haven't Met You Yet, Breakaway, Need You Now and Nothings Gonna Stop Us.   

Cinderella: The evil sisters with Baron Hardup (Jerry Mathers) and Buttons (Benny Harris)


The Lythgoe family is known for their productions of “ American Idol” and “So You Think You can Dance.”  Cinderella is their first American stage production but they have had numerous hits in Europe.  

Cinderella: The evil sisters at the ball


The British Panto probably dates back to the Middle Ages and blends the Italian “Commedia dell' Arte with the British music hall.  This physical theatre uses dance, music, tumbling, acrobatics and buffoonery.  Modern versions of the Panto are often based on fairy tales or folk legends as Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin, Dick Whittington.  

This wonderful play goes only until December 19, 2010 and runs every day but Monday.  Most days there are two and sometimes three performances.  Prices range from $45 to $25 with family tickets running at $99.  call 866 811 4111 or go to www.elportaltheatre.com for more information. 

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