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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Houston Ballet: ‘Cinderella’ new take on old classic

If you’re expecting the original Cinderella fairy-tale, you’re in for a fun-filled treat. You may think you know what happens next, but Houston Ballet’s production of Stanton Welch’s version of Cinderella is flush with humor and entertains with a fresh, new interpretation that goes beyond glittery ball gowns and a magical ride to the royal ball.

Instead of a Cinderella (Amy Fote) who is bossed around by her stepmother (James Gotesky) and stepsisters Grizabella (Oliver Halkowich) and Florinda (Steven Woodgate) and consumed with chores, for whom the audience usually feels sorry, Welch presents a spunky, sassy Cinderella who isn’t afraid to (very gracefully of course) punch or kick anyone who crosses her the wrong way.

She’s not the only character who has a little attitude. The audience has the opportunity to know more about Prince Charming (Conner Walsh) and apparently he knows he’s charming. He looks in a mirror to admire himself, pushes people out of his way and gets very friendly with the ladies in attendance at the royal ball. The audience laughed a number of times during this scene as Prince Charming danced with the ladies, thrusting his pelvis and grabbing their breasts and buttocks.

The dancing ceased for a moment when Cinderella glided down a set of stairs in her magic ball gown made by ghosts summoned by the spirit of Cinderella’s mother (Barbara Bears) when she fled her stepmother and stepsisters to visit her mother’s grave.

After a dance with the prince, she was completely turned off by his arrogance and turned on by his secretary, Dandini (Ian Casady), with whom she falls in love.

Every move within Welch’s production of Cinderella was choreographed perfectly. In several scenes the stage was filled with dancing making it difficult to focus on individuals, but it did create a huge, colorful collage of dancers clad in elaborate costumes adorned with glitter. Act III is no exception.

In Act III, Welch creatively elaborates on the prince’s search to find the maiden to whom the shoe belongs, as the audience was taken to Spain and Arabia. Bulls (wearing masks and little else), princesses and a frustrated prince dance around the stage.

The creativity and elaboration continues as Cinderella’s father stops her stepmother from attacking Cinderella because she is furious that Cinderella declined her chance to be royalty.

Welch’s Cinderella is surprisingly original, from the costumes to the dancing to the scenes portraying back-story. It answers questions and closes gaps left by the original fairy tale, continuing the cherished story of a girl who broke away from serving her ungrateful stepmother and stepsisters and found love and a "happily ever after."

Ticket prices start at $17. For more information, call (713) 227-2787 or visit

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