Ballet of the Dolls is a contemporary dance company that perform at the newly renovated Ritz Theatre in North East Minneapolis. For the holiday season they chose to do two shows “Cinderella” and “SINderella”. Since I had never seen a production by them I figured I would play it safe and see the more classic version. “Cinderella” was labeled “for the whole family” so when I walked in, I thought it would be more of a bright, cheery version. However, I was proven incorrect. Instead, it was a dark, gothic piece. As odd as it may sound, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can read my full review by clicking on “A black twist on a classic fairytale”.
After seeing the show I was curious about “SINderella” and wondered what the differences would be. To be honest, I typically am a conservative theater goer. I enjoy happy shows; I struggle with foul language, borderline topics and so forth. Although I was wary to see the show one of the ushers said “My husband is a prude and he liked it.” As funny as it sounds, it convinced me and Saturday night I went to see what “SINderella” was all about.
“SINderella” is the story of a girl, Sindy who works for her step mother and step sisters in a brothel. She is in charge of taking tickets, cleaning, cooking, and being a maid for the ladies. One day the family is invited to a party for a local wealthy man. Sindy is left behind until her fairy godmother arrives to save the day. Once she is at the party, the man falls in love with her. The problem is, the clock strikes midnight and she must flee. She leaves behind a slipper and he sets out on a quest to find the girl the next day. Once he does, they are married and live happily ever after.
For this piece I will do more of a compare and contrast between the two shows. I thought it may be more fun for you to read and for me to write. Note: I’ve kept “Cinderella” somewhat short since I already wrote about it. Here goes nothing!
The creator: Artistic Director Myron Johnson does a fabulous job with both pieces. “Cinderella” is more gothic with dark tones and has a Tim Burton vibe to it. The characters move in creepy ways and the music matches their movement well. “SINderella” is colorful. The costumes are over the top with wigs and makeup. Their movements are more contemporary. Some of the pieces reminded me of Mia Michael’s (So You Can Think You Can Dance) whose choreography I love. The overall vibe of the show is more upbeat, fun, and exciting. I found both pieces to be very creative and witty.
Cinderella and Sindy: In “Cinderella” Stephanie Fellner played the lead role. She did a great job and danced beautifully. In “SINderella” she played the fairy godmother. Her movements were so fluid and I was impressed every time she did kicks. Sindy was played by Lisa Conlin and she was spectacular. Her movements were executed very well and always on beat. She played one of the stepsisters in “Cinderella” as well. Both of the women were fabulous for the parts and were cast perfectly.
Step mother and sisters: In “Cinderella” the step mother was played by a man in a wheel chair. He did an amazing job and so did the step-sisters. You can read more about their performances in my last blog. In “SINderella” the step mother was also somewhat of the narrator. She opened and closed the show. The step sisters were played by Renata Justinia and Grant Whittaker (who played the Prince in “Cinderella”). The three of them worked well together and portrayed the evil vibe in a good manner. I thought it was fun and quirky to mix up the gender of the step mother and sisters. It gave a new twist to the story.
Music: The music in “Cinderella” was dark with lots of clanging, pounding, and loud noises. It fit the piece perfectly. “SINderella” was very creative. All of the songs were taken from other shows and artists and compiled to fit the story line. For example: the two step sisters had their own songs at the party. One danced to “Get the Party Started” by Shirley Bassey and the other danced to “The Music and the Mirror” from “A Chorus Line”. A few of my other favorites were “I Feel Pretty” by the Puppini Sisters and “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Very Far From the Tree” by Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera. The creativity of picking these songs for both of the plays was incredible to me. Bravo for the choices!
Overall I couldn’t tell you which I prefered. Each piece was crafted beautifully and I enjoyed both thoroughly. I had never seen anything like either of them and I am glad I was able to experience it. Next up at the Ritz “Venus and Adonis” starting February 22nd. For further information take a look at the Ritz Dolls website: