Anderson, Indiana

Theatre Review: Prince Charming’s heart on display

Fri, 2010-02-19 16:09 -- univcomm
February 19, 2010

A particular 18th century French prince sees no reason to attend another regal ball. He will only be heartbroken again.

But in Jules Massenet’s opera “Cinderella,” Prince Charming makes one final appearance at another ball and finds his forever love. We all know the story and there’s no surprising changes in this weekend’s Anderson University efficient production.

cinderellaHowever, in Massenet’s opera, known as “Cendrillon,” the prince becomes an equally-strong character to Cinderella; his struggles are developed deeper and his role is more rewarding. [Photo on left: Cinderella (Meaghan Sands) is awoke by spirits in Boze Lyric Theatre's production of "Cinderella." Click here for a gallery of photos.]

The prince is played by AU senior Theo Hicks, a Farmington, Mich., native who has been a joy to watch over six productions. Now in his last show at AU, it is clear Hicks understands his craft.

His duets with the sweet dreaming Meaghan Sands (a senior from New York who sang last weekend with the Anderson symphony) as Cinderella that must sell the entire opera. They click; she with a sprite, sometimes trembling, innocence and he with a brooding tenor.

As impressive is music professor Fritz Robertson’s properly understated control of a 32-piece romantic orchestra, the largest ever for a theatrical show in Byrum. The musicians bring each character onstage without pushing. You’ll wonder how they all fit under the stage.

On the floor above them, the stage shimmers with a tall set of windows that reflect the main action inside the palace and Cinderella’s home as well as presenting snapshots of the activity going on outside the audience’s view. But when Act 3 requires Cinderella and Charming to wander through a fairy-filled forest, the stage is covered by cheap-looking plastic sheets — something you’d see in your home garage. School productions have to be cost-effective but maybe a camouflaged net from the armory could have been borrowed.

If the audience focuses on Sands, Hicks and the dancing spirits, the scenery tends to fade away.

The couple’s relationship (add a definitive, sturdy performance by senior Alvin J. Morrison as Cinderella’s father) makes this two-hour, smoothly-paced opera a heartfelt fairy tale.

Contact Scott L. Miley, 648-4230, scott.miley@heraldbulletin.com

If you go

“Cinderella,” music by Jules Massenet. Directed by Laurel Goetzinger; music director is Fritz Robertson.
When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Byrum Hall, Anderson University.
Tickets: $12 for general admission; $10 for seniors and military; $5 for students. Call the box office at 641-4351.
Info: The opera is sung in English and has English subtitles projected above the stage.

Click here for a gallery of photos.

—Scott L. Miley is the associate features editor for The Herald Bulletin. Photo credit: Don Knight. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.