Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Walnut Street Theatre
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Brent Thiessen, Kathryn Brunner,
Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters, Amanda Jill Robinson,
Mary Martello, and Cast

Photo by Mark Garvin
Walnut Street Theatre's spectacular production of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella is a high-energy extravaganza sure to delight theater lovers of all ages. Director Glenn Casale has brought together an impressively talented ensemble that fills the stage with stunning vocals and big laughs. Intricate and athletic choreography, lavish sets, and dazzling costumes all help make Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella an unforgettable musical celebration.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's original Cinderella was written for television and premiered in 1957. This new Broadway adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane features a charming new book. All the elements of the classic fairy tale are here: a sweet but mistreated Cinderella, the most evil step mother, a good fairy godmother, one handsome prince in need of a bride, and a glass slipper that just won't stay put. The addition of one not-so-evil stepsister and a socially conscious villager add some complexity and fun to the traditional storyline. The phenomenal score includes Rodgers & Hammerstein classics like "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible/It's Possible," and "Ten Minutes Ago."

Vivacious and lovable, Kathryn Brunner is every bit a fairy-tale princess. Her voice has a lovely clarity and she delivers song after song with contagiously exuberant energy. Brent Thiessen is adorably sweet as the valiant if insecure prince Topher. I do not want to give too much away, but the deliciously sassy Rebecca Robbins is magical at Marie. Brunner's evil stepmother and two stepsisters are played by Mary Martello, Amanda Jill Robinson, and Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters. The trio is utterly hilarious. Martello's over-the-top snobbery and pettiness is wonderfully devious. Robinson fully engages with the audience from the start and she leads "Stepsisters' Lament" with legendary attitude. Walters' spirited turn as stepsister Gabrielle is heartwarming. Philadelphia favorite Ben Dibble is risible as Lord Pinkerton.

Gerry McIntyre's kinetic choreography is an absolute joy to watch and one of the highlights of this excellent production. The lush scenic designs by Robert Andrew Kovach transport the audience to another world. Each of the dozens of costumes designed by Mary Folino are fantastically conceived and perfectly executed. It is an especially dazzling treat when those costumes magically transform before our eyes. Do not miss your chance to experience the magic of this enchanting production for yourself.

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella runs through December 31, 2022, at Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787, or visit

Production and Design Team:
Director: Glenn Casale
Choreographer: Gerry Mcintyre
Music/Vocal Director: Chris Burcheri
Scenic Design: Robert Andrew Kovach
Costume Design: Mary Folino
Lighting Design: David Neville
Sound Design: Ed Chapman

The Cast:
Ella: Kathryn Brunner
Topher: Brent Thiessen
Lord Pinkleton: Ben Dibble
Sebastian: Fran Prisco
Marie: Rebecca Robbins
Jean-Michel: Adam Hoyak
Madame: Mary Martello
Gabrielle: Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters
Charlotte: Amanda Jill Robinson
Ensemble: Rachel Beiswenger, Kristine Fraelich, Alexandra Frohlinger, Phoebe Gavula, Christina Emily Jackson, Jesse Jones, Bonnie Kelly, Kevin Kulp, Adam Mandala, Zummy Mohammed, Audrey Biehl Simmons, Devon Sinclair, Jon Yepez