Review: ‘Cinderella: A Magical, Musical Tale’ at The American Pops Orchestra

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This is what theater is all about and it was my dream when I started DCMetroTheaterArts 5 years ago-to see a venue filled with parents and kids laughing and clapping and having a great time together. And maybe these kids will ask their parents to take to the theater or a concert again and again. Fingers crossed.

L t o R: Austin Colby, MaryJoanna Grisso, Hilary Morrow, and Dale Sampson. Phot courtesy of The American Pops Orchestra.

And that’s what I saw last Saturday when I arrived at First Congregational UCC – and what a blast we all had with this hilarious new concert version of this beloved tale of Cinderella, her not-so-nice stepmother and stepsisters, he Fairy Godmother, and the charming prince. But here, Luke Frazier and the amazing American Pops Orchestra and four great performers: Austin Colby, MaryJoanna Grisso, Hillary Morrow, and Dale Sampson provided the dozens of laughs and sheer joy! And the magnificent playing of these classics was so enjoyable.

Written by Taylor Ferrera and Matthew Webster, and directed with much love by Nathan Brewer, the concert incorporated songs by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin, and what a smart way to introduce these timeless songs from The Great American Songbook to this young generation!

Maestro Luke Frazier. Photo courtesy of The American Pops Orchestra.

Luke Frazier said it well:

By taking timeless songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin to Cinderella, and refashioning them for family audiences, this beloved story you thought you knew already is given a new perspective. We’re so excited to introduce this show, and its talented young cast, to DC  audiences.

And so am I.

Her are my highlights:

–MaryJoanna Grisso’s touching rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

–Dale Sampson’s outrageous Fairy Godmother dress and hilarious singing of “I Put A Spell On You.”

–Austin Colby’s romantic version of “Just the Way You Look Tonight.”

–Hillary Morrow and Dale Sampson performing an off-the-wall version of “Isn’t It Romantic?”

–The American Pops Orchestra playing “Shall We Dance.” It was a royal treat.

What was so smart was to get the kids involved all through the ‘story’ by holding up signs that shouted: “Boo!”, “Aww!”, “Applause”, and others. And the kids learned what a ‘prologue’ and ‘epilogue’ were.

L to R: Hilary Morrow, MaryJoanna Grisso, Dale Sampson, and Austin Colby. Photo courtesy of The American Pops Orchestra.

And I hope this wonderful show/concert will travel all around the globe. I would see it over and over again. It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had.

Cinderella was performed by The American Pops Orchestra on March 11, 2017, at First Congressional UCC – 945 G Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For information and to purchase tickets to their April 7, 2017, concert: You Spin Me Round: An 80’s Dance Party at Lisner Auditorium – 730 21st Street, in Washington, DC, go to their website.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.