By Sarayu Pai
As soon as I traipsed out of my Computer Science class, pondering the different types of selection sorts, I saw the Cardinal Nights email and immediately became excited. San Jose Broadway would be performing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” on Saturday and the tickets were only $15, including transportation. Straightaway, I contacted one of my closest friends and we began planning our course of action for securing the tickets. That night, we met in the hall and kept the Eventbrite page open, refreshing until 9 p.m. The time was reminiscent of when we were registering for winter quarter classes and legitimately had the Atomic Clock website open so we would know exactly when to click the “Enroll” button. Fortunately for us, we got the tickets.
The next few days were spent in anticipation of the show, and finally, it was the day of. After a quick bite to eat, we headed over to the parking lot behind the Faculty Club where we boarded the charter bus that took us into San Jose. The performance venue was San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, with the foyer and “staircase” (more of a sloping spiral going up) reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. We arrived at the venue an hour earlier, so we whiled away the time by paying a visit to the nearby CREAM establishment and treating ourselves to the quintessential cookie sandwich.
After we skedaddled back the theater and found our seats — the process was confusing since the seats are not in numerical order amid the rows (instead the odd seats populate one side while the evens have the other). The pit orchestra played beautifully and was well-heard, adding the perfect musical touch to the mostly comical events of the play.
The most impressive facet of the play would indubitably be the costume changes. On separate occasions, Cinderella’s fairy godmother transferred from a grungy, stooped woman dressed in baggy rags to an elegant, straight-backed woman upright in a shimmering gown. The costume changes occurred in a blink of an eye. For example, the aforementioned change on the fairy godmother’s part was carried out while she did a quick spin on her toes. After Cinderella came back from the first ball, still dressed in her glimmering, poofy ball gown, she ran to the set’s fireplace and someone from behind the firebox, perhaps around the mantel area, covertly snuck their hands through and pulled Cinderella’s party dress off, revealing the torn, raggedy dress that is so symbolic of her unfortunate position in life.
Without spoiling too much of the plotline, Cinderella does not relent to her prince’s charms after their first dancing encounter. Although the play concludes in the way you would expect it to, Cinderella’s reluctance to leave any way for which the prince to connect with her allows for a brief moment of female empowerment. Additionally, the focus is not entirely on Cinderella throughout the play. Her kind-hearted stepsister has her own clandestine, forbidden relationship with the local firebrand whilst the other stepsister provides comic relief.
Although a couple of the songs seemed a bit dragged out and repetitive, the actors did a wonderful job of simultaneously projecting their voices and dancing during the multitude of musical numbers.
If you are at all interested in seeing a Broadway production, I would recommend popping over to the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts for a show. Upcoming shows include “The Lightning Thief” (yes, with Percy Jackson and all), “Aladdin” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Contact Sarayu Pai at smpai918 ‘at’ stanford.edu.