Monday, May 16

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: Cinderella

Stockberger (L), Sutton (C) and King (R)
The venue was filled with princesses, of all ages, their tresses curled, tiaras perched and dressed in pink finery for the opening weekend of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis. The timeless fairytale is set to music and contains an injection of humor this go round.

From the first trumpet to the final curtsy, girls are caught up in the magic of fairy godmothers, princes and carriage rides to the royal ball. The well-known story of Cinderella, played sweetly by Lindsay Sutton, takes an unexpected twist of an ugly nature, however. Eddie Curry pulled magic out of his director's black bag by casting two males in the less-than-glamorous roles of the ugly stepsisters Portia, portrayed by destination actor Jeff Stockberger, and Joy, played by Doug King. Taking the big gamble that the audience could handle the over-sized siblings paid off big time for the Indy dinner theater.
Sutton as Cinderella

Parents and grandparents who dutifully arrived with young ones in tow, knowing the plot line like a well-worn record, were treated to a wake-up call when 6-foot, 5-inch Stockberger and 6-foot King adorned in corsets, makeup and wigs stumbled and fumbled their way onto the stage. Stockberger, who stood another 14 inches in height with his wig, and King created a zany, almost animated tone making this a show also for the adults. Little ones may have had fairy dust in their eyes throughout the program but the adults had tears in theirs from laughing so hard.
Hutcheson as Town Crier

Portraying the role of Town Crier is Will Hutcheson who was seemingly in the same mindset as King and Stockberger, drawing the next most amount of laughter and applause from the audience. It felt as if he wanted to go larger with the character but was uncertain how far to push the envelope, but certainly the desire and talent is there. If Hutcheson gained the confidence to follow his instincts a little more, he could (and should) push Town Crier over the top to match the ugly stepsisters' level of stage presence, creating a great balance.
Gift shop

The gift shop was ensconced in pink with castles, tiaras and other princess-worthy items available before the performance and during intermission. The show runs May 12 - July 1, 2011. Tickets are available at the link below or by calling the  box office at 317-872-9664.
Bottom Line: Through the combined talent of Stockberger and King, and under the direction of Curry, Beef and Boards' Cinderella gives a super-sized performance for adults to enjoy as much as kids.

Photos: Julie Curry Photography
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and performing arts critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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