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Review: Music Guild's Cinderella

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo. No, Music Guild’s current production is not the Disney version, but it IS a quaint and updated retelling of Grimm’s fairy tale, Cinderella, and is worthy of a Hallmark movie.

In an era of caustic politics, mass shootings, and assaults on our capital, Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s rendering of this classic provides an escape to a magical kingdom where even a lowly, maltreated step-daughter, with the help of her fairy godmother, can meet, fall in love with, and marry a handsome prince.

And quite the handsome prince he is. Nickie Dean Callendar, making his Music Guild debut, is THE quintessential casting choice. In his second year of Vocal Music Education at Illinois State University, not only does he have amazing vocal chops, he is drop-dead gorgeous and oozes absolute sincerity in his portrayal of the love smitten prince. If only I were 52 years younger.

Heading up this outstanding cast is Hannah Wiyrick, as the titular maltreated maid-turned-princess, who exudes the perfectly crystal clear voice expected of a sweet, forgiving gal who views the world through rose-colored glasses, despite her hard life, to capture the heart of the heir apparent.

Once again, scenery and set pieces for this show were phenomenal and extra special acknowledgment must go out to 50 YEAR veteran scene painter Bill Marsoun for the massive and impressive set and to local veterinarian John Weigandt who engineered a positively jaw-dropping pair of horses, complete with moving legs, that pulled Cinderella’s coach to the ball.

One thing that bothers me a bit at this venue is the execution of scene changes. Although very efficient, the backstage crew moves set pieces on for the next scene while the current scene is being performed and although dressed in traditional black – which means we’re supposed to pretend we don’t see them – I would prefer to see them in costume.

And speaking of costumes...Cindy Monroe and her crew not only outfitted a huge cast with multiple costume changes but also created not one, but two, stunning costumes for Cinderella that morphed from rags to ball gowns right before our eyes. Wow.

The choreography in this show is somewhat mundane but may have been calculated to accommodate an enormous ensemble cast consisting of kids and adults, who were not quite as strong at dancing as they were at singing. Also, the scene searching for Cinderella after her midnight departure from the ball took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

Last, I’m still struggling with being able to discern all of the lyrics to the songs. At the Guild’s last show, I was about a third of the way back in the audience and I felt the orchestra drowned out some of the songs. I chose to sit in the front row of this show hoping I’d hear the songs better. Bad choice. So I’m struggling with whether it’s my age, the orchestra playing too loud, or the settings of the actors’ microphones – or some combination of all three. I do know that I’m not the Lone Ranger in this conundrum.

All in all, this production is a delightful fairy tale romp that adults can enjoy and is the perfect show to introduce your child to grown-up theater.

Cinderella continues on July 15th and 16th at 7:30 pm and July 17th at 2:00 pm at Prospect Park in Moline.