Theatre Review: “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” Starlight Theater – Kansas City, Missouri

CINDERELLA
July 7, 2015
Starlight Theater, Kansas City, Missouri

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Imagine I’m telling you this in my “old man” voice: Back in my day, theater on television was a rarity. Two things that kids looked forward to were the annual presentations of Mary Martin in “Peter Pan” and “Cinderella,” starring Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. This touring production captures the magic of my early television memories.

The story is well known. Cinderella (Paige Faure) lives with her mean step-mother (Beth Glover) and two step-sisters (Kaitlyn Davidson and Aymee Garcia). While step-mom dreams up ways of marrying her daughters off and moving up in life, Cinderella toils in the house, cooking, cleaning and making the beds. A chance meeting with Prince Topher (Andy Huntington Jones) allows her to dream of a better life When the Prince invites every eligible lady in the kingdom to the ball, in the hopes of meeting his future bride, Cinderella longs to go. But she could use a little help…

Well produced and performed, this version of “Cinderella” mixes up great songs (by the legendary Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers), a strong cast and a familiar story to make it sure to entertain everyone in the audience, both young and old. The cast is in fine voice and the choreography is sharply performed. Both leads have great range and the supporting characters, especially Cinderella’s mean relatives, prove themselves fine comediennes. And the magic isn’t reserved just for the performances. Some amazing sleight of hand occurs when Cinderella obtains her ball gown. I urge you to pay attention and if you can tell me how they do it, please drop me a line. The accompanying orchestra also helped keep the show moving, helping give a familiar story a few much needed high notes.

“Cinderella” continues at Starlight through Sunday, July 12, 2015.

Film Review “Cinderella (2015)”

Starring: Lily James, Richard Madden, and Cate Blanchett
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh
Rated: PG
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Our Score 4 out of 5 stars

From European folk tale to Disney classic to one of the most reincarnated, reimagined and adapted movies in my life. Just a quick Internet search turned up at least a dozen adaptations within my lifetime of the fairy tale. I’m certain that further research could uncover at least one redesign of the beloved movie for every year I’ve been alive. I merely point this out because a lot could have gone wrong with this live-action update, but I’m happy to say it greatly exceeded my bare minimum expectations.

We all know the story of “Cinderella” right? I mean, unless you’re eight-years-old or younger or you’re Amish, there’s a high probability that you know the story. There are some cruel stepsisters, an even more fiendish stepmother that berates the unfortunately orphaned Cinderella. Cinderella beats out the odds and misfortunes of life with the help of a fairy godmother. With magical help, she attends a lavish ball, enchants the prince and leaves a memento for him to chase her down with, a glass slipper. This is a story that’s been told hundreds of times, so I hope you know what I’m talking about. Now, I’m not here to argue the necessity of another or new “Cinderella” movie, but I’m going to tell you that it’s not a rushed cash grab. It probably is a cash grab for the young ones who don’t know “Cinderella”, but at least they’re getting something of quality and substance.

While Lily James, who plays Cinderella, is obviously the focal point, Blanchett really steals the scenes as her venomous stepmother. She starts as a haughty socialite, but Blanchett transforms slowly over the movie into a bitter hag who puppeteers the weakest people around her. Helena Bonham Carter enters as the fairy godmother and is also quite delightful in her small, but significant role. As for Richard Madden as the prince who inevitably falls for Cinderella, he just stands there and looks pretty; Which isn’t a bad thing.

The real high marks for me in this movie are the set and costume designs. While the wide shots of the sprawling castle are obviously CGI, the exquisite ball and all its guests are real and in real costumes. The vast, but snug cottage that Cinderella is in has a Victorian appeal. The movie feels grand while remaining intimate in it’s settings. Everything could have easily been green screened, but it’s great to see a filmmaker and crew that understands tradition and puts in a time-honored effort of good old fashioned design. It’s a well-made, guilty pleasure for Disneyphiles and a refreshing blast from Disney’s treasured past for everyone else.

Blu-ray Review “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True / Cinderella III: A Twist in Time”

Starring: Jennifer Hale, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, Corey Burton, Holland Taylor, Susanne Blakeslee
Directors: Frank Nissen, John Kafka
Number of discs: 3
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Running Time: 73 / 70 minutes

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

How can you follow up to wonderful and timeless story of “Cinderella”. “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” is a poor excuse for a sequel to one of the best fairy tale stories ever. The animation really is poor and really shows it’s direct-to-video roots. To be honest, I wouldn’t purchase this if it wasn’t in a combo pack. “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time” is a much better follow-up.  It delivers a really nice twist on the classic story and also packs some really fun songs. This film does make this release worth the purchase and I would just take “Cinderella II”, as a bonus feature.  In terms of delivery, “Cinderella II & III” are presented on one Blu-ray disc, while each film is also available on their own individual DVD. Overall, I would recommend this for probably only hardcore Disney fans!

“Cinderella II: Dreams Come True”: As a newly crowned princess, Cinderella quickly learns that life at the Palace – and her royal responsibilities – are more challenging than she had imagined. In three heartwarming tales, Cinderella calls on her animal friends and her Fairy Godmother to help as she brings her own grace and charm to her regal role and discovers that being true to yourself is the best way to make your dreams come true.

“Cinderella III: A Twist In Time”: Princess Cinderella is living a charmingly perfect life until her stepmother gets her hands on Fairy Godmother’s magic wand. With a wicked spell that turns back the clock, she erases the Prince’s memories of the girl he met at the ball and shatters Cinderella’s happily ever after! Jaq and Gus scurry to save the day before time runs out. But was it all really just a dream in Cinderella’s heart, or will true love triumph over all?

Despite being pretty bad, “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” still looks the best it ever has on Blu-ray with its 1080p transfer and its 1.66:1 aspect ratio. “Cinderella III: A Twist In Time” also looks fantastic with its 1080p transfer and its 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Both films also sport a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The special features do not add much to this release. There is a feature called “Becoming a Princess” which is included in a two-part feature. The 1st Edition is with “Cinderella II” and 2nd Edition is with “Cinderella III” and both are new features for this release. They takes you through princess school and the process of being transformed into a Disney Princess. “Musical Magic” looks into the songs in the “Cinderella 2”. Lastly, there is a music video for the song “Put It Together”.

Book Review “Jane Ray’s Cinderella”

Author: Jane Ray
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 12 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 25, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect with a pop-up adaption of Cinderella – that wasn’t from Disney. But I was really pleasantly surprised. This pop-up book transform the story of Cinderella into the three-dimensional and really tells gives this fairy-tale a very elegant portrayal. The illustration of Cinderella and her royal night are very impressive, yet simple.  I highly recommend this to all fans of this timeless story.

Author Jane Ray delivers this wonderful book within its layered cut-paper artwork. There are six very detailed pages ranging from the kitchen landscape, the magical garden, the ballroom and of course the pumpkin coach. There are also fantastic side panels that provide text to tell the story.  So this can be used as a straight up picture book or also a read-along storybook.  Having a little girl myself, I can see her revisiting this book very often and sending her off to sleep each nice with dreams of being a princess.  Good job Candlewick!

Blu-ray Review “Cinderella: Diamond Edition”

Starring: Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, James MacDonald, Verna Felton, Rhoda Williams
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Run Time: 75 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Cinderella” is the next in line to receive Blu-ray treatment for the time from Disney. This fairy tale princess is one of the most recognizable and even has her own real-life castle located her in Orlando FL 😉 “Cinderella” looks glorious on Blu-ray with this simply magical restoration and video transfer. There are also two spectacular audio track include. The first is a remix track of DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and of course there is also the original audio, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. This is a must for all Disney fans but if you are then you probably aren’t reading this. The ultimate fan would definitely want to check out the Limited Edition Collectible Jewelry Box of this release, which includes all three “Cinderella Films”: “Cinderella, “Cinderella II: Dreams Comes True” and “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time”. Keep ’em coming Disney, still have plenty more classics to upgrade to Blu-ray.

The special features are just as magical as the film itself.  There is a brief introduction to the film from Diane Disney Miller. I will start on the HD special features first.  “Cinderella Alternate Opening Sequence” is a short but still worthwhile extra, which is showcased in the film’s original storyboards. “Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition” include three newly produced featurettes together running about 30 minutes. The first is my favorite on the release called “The Real Fairy Godmother”, really an amazing piece of work (got me teary). The next is called “Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland””, which takes a look into Walt Disney World’s renovation and expansion of Fantasyland. Lastly, “The Magic of a Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story” is a French short film about famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin.  To top off the HD extras is the equally amazing and retro “Cinderella” companion, “Tangled Ever After” short film.  This was originally released in 3D with “Beauty and the Beast” in theaters.

The rest of the special features, which are still great are taken from the 2005 Special Edition DVD, and are in standard definition. “From Rags to Riches: The Making of Cinderella” is an extensive documentary and still amazing. “The Cinderella that Almost Was” shows other concept designs for our princess.  “From Walt’s Table: A Tribute to the Nine Old Men” is a nice tribute to the legendary Disney animators from the old days. “The Art of Mary Blair” focuses on the female artist, who was very important to the film.  “Storyboard-to-Film Comparison” focuses on movie’s opening sequence.  There is an animated “Laugh-O-Gram” of the Cinderella story from 1922.  There is also a 1956 excerpt from “The Mickey Mouse Club”.  There are three deleted scenes displayed with original art and storyboards and six theatrical and reissue trailers.

The last feature consists of audio only content.  There are archive audio recordings of the “Cinderella Title Song,” seven “Unused Songs,” a 1948 “Village Store” excerpt, a 1950 “Gulf Oil Presents” excerpt, and a 1950 new program called “Scouting the Stars”.  If you are have a compatible mobile device or table you can enjoy the “Personalized Digital Storybook: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-You”, which is an interactive Disney Second Screen storybook. Also like other classic animation films on Blu-ray, you can fill the black bars on sides of your TV with artwork by Disney background painter Cristy Maltese using “DisneyView”. This Diamond Edition release does not disappoint in any scene whatsoever. I should also mention that this Blu-ray release also comes with a DVD of the film and a discount for a online streaming copy, so you can watch this film wherever you go.

Premise: Everyone orders Cinderella around: her cruel stepmother, her awful stepsisters — even the big clock in the church tower tells her when to start another day of drudgery. But they can’t stop her from dreaming, and Cinderella has faith that someday her wishes will come true. When an invitation to the royal ball arrives, Cinderella is sure her time has come — until her stepsisters, with the encouragement of Lady Tremaine, tear her gown to shreds. Just when Cinderella believes all is lost, her Fairy Godmother appears, and with a wave of her wand and “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” transforms an ordinary pumpkin into a magnificent coach and Cinderella’s rags into a gorgeous gown, then sends her off to the Royal Ball. But Cinderella’s enchanted evening must end when the spell is broken at midnight. It will take the help of her daring animal mice friends and a perfect fit into a glass slipper to create the ultimate fairy tale ending.

“CINDERELLA” Blu-ray™ and DVD Combo Pack Giveaway! [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Disney Transforms Its Classic Fairytale
To All-New Blu-ray™ Heights for Its Royal Diamond Edition Debut, October 2, 2012

© 2012 Disney

To celebrate the Blu-Ray™ release of “Cinderella”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway 10 copies of the Diamond Edition Combo Pack (Blu-ray™ + DVD). If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite Disney princess. This giveaway will be open until October 12th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

“A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” and at the stroke of midnight, October 2, 2012, dreams around the globe really will come true when The Walt Disney Studios opens its prestigious vault to release one of Walt Disney’s most timeless and beloved masterpieces of all time, “Cinderella,” in the highly anticipated Blu-ray™ Diamond Edition Collection.

This enchanting classic comes alive in stunning fashion for in-home viewing for the very first time on Blu-ray high definition with enhanced picture and sound, once again being embraced by new and old generation alike and only available … as long as the spell lasts.

The “Cinderella: Diamond Edition,” with its spellbinding storyline, memorable music, unforgettable characters and spectacular animation, sparkles like never before with a wide-array of bonus features that extend the viewing experience for the whole family to enjoy including never-before-seen material, family-friendly interactive activities, games and more.

“A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

To celebrate the release of “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway ONE DVD of the film. If you would like to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite fairy tale movie. This giveaway will be open until Sunday September 4th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

The classic Cinderella story gets a modern musical twist when Warner Premiere’s fairytale A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song arrives on DVD and digital download September 6th from Warner Home Entertainment Group.

This new music filled take on the classic Cinderella story, A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song tells the story of Katie and her ups and downs of finding true love and embracing her musical talent.  Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Scream 4) stars as downtrodden teen Katie, Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) as Luke, the new transfer student from Europe, Megan Park (TV’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager) as Katie’s wicked stepsister, Titus Makin, Jr. (TV’s Glee) as Mickey, Luke’s entrepreneurial front man, and Missi Pyle (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Katie’s cruel stepmother and school headmaster. A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song is directed by Damon Santostefano (Another Cinderella Story, Bring it on Again, Three to Tango) from a script by Erik Patterson & Jessica Scott (Another Cinderella Story) and is produced by Dylan Sellers (A Cinderella Story, Another Cinderella Story, Agent Cody Banks).  Clifford Werber, Ilyssa Goodman and Michelle Johnston serve as executive producers.

Check out this really cool widget below for more information about the film:

Watch the Stars Interact! Check out Lucy Hale take a relationship quiz and Freddie Stroma, Megan Park and Titus Makin Jr. lip sync along to the song “Run This Town”!

Write Your Own Cinderella Story! Take our interactive quiz and make your own musical fairytale come true!

Lip Sync Music Video Contest! Film a short YouTube video to the sounds of Lucy Hale’s song “Run This Town.” Dress up! Be creative!

Achieve Your Dreams PDF! Download “Top 10 Ways to Stand Bright” and write your own goals sponsored by the Confidence Coalition!

A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song! Sneak a peek at the Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song Trailer!

 

“A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song” – Freddie Stroma’s Song

Check out Luke (Freddie Stroma) singing “Knockin” in the all new movie “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song”. Catch this song and more on the upcoming “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song” soundtrack.

“A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song”, starring Lucy Hale (TV’s “Pretty Little Liars”) and Freddie Stroma (the Harry Potter franchise), comes to DVD and For Download on September 6, 2011 from Warner Home Entertainment Group.

To see the FULL Opening scene of the all new movie “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song” go to the A Cinderella Story Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/acinderellastory

“A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song”, starring Lucy Hale (TV’s “Pretty Little Liars”) and Freddie Stroma (the Harry Potter franchise), comes to DVD and For Download on September 6, 2011 from Warner Home Entertainment Group.