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Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Cinderella” - Romantic Comedy at Its Best

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Pacific Northwest Ballet brings its version of the classic fairytale, “Cinderella” back to the stage following a nine year absence.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lesley Rausch as Cinderella and principal dancer Jeffrey Stanton as the Prince in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella.  Photo © Angela Sterling

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This beloved story, with its well-known plot and charming cast of characters, provides audience members an exciting evening of romance, comedy and whopping dose of “happily ever after”.

Soloist Lesley Rausch gave an outstanding inaugural performance as the long-suffering, mistreated heroine. Her interpretation of “Cinderella” was rich and complex, allowing the attributes of humility, strength, love and fortitude to shine through. With this performance, Lesley Rausch proved she’s got the chops to handle principal dancer status in the near future.

Our handsome prince, performed by the superb Jeffrey Stanton, was every bit as dashing and powerful as you’d expect. While employing an attitude that’s borderline “high school crush”, Stanton’s expressions are so arresting, I heard more than one woman whisper, “Wow! I wish someone would look at me like that!” The final moments of their wedding pas de deux performed high among the clouds while sprinkles of fairy dust (aka glitter) cascade all around them was to die for!

The cruel stepmother was portrayed by the perpetual crowd favorite, Ariana Lallone. There’s just something about Lallone that screams “regal”, “classy” and “confident” which is perfect for a role like this. As a matter of fact, her interpretation of the stepmother was so convincing, I almost started to hate her and wished “Cindy” would stand up to her for once.

Uko Gorter made a fantastic Father. His love and affection for Cinderella is so gentle and sweet; it’s just a shame he was so spineless when it came to his wife, the stepmother. But before I could dismiss his character completely, “Big Daddy” finally musters up the courage in Act Three to stand up to this bratty wife and her equally wretched offspring. {Woohoo!}

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lesley Rausch as Cinderella in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella.  Photo © Angela Sterling

Pacific

Lindsi Dec and Chalnessa Eames were beyond perfect as the wicked step-sisters. It was incredibly humorous watching these two pretend as though they couldn’t dance or hold onto a man’s {positive} attention to save their lives. My personal favorite moment came during Act two’s ballroom scene when Lindsi Dec tossed the Jester {I’ll get to him in a moment, I promise} over a chair as punishment for keeping her away from the Prince. Ha! Both Dec and Eames shine brightly in this role and received plenty of laughs for their outstanding efforts.

And now, the Jester! Principal dancer, Jonathan Poretta pulled out all the stops on this one, creating a fully developed character not just some witless goofball. While Poretta’s court Jester is indeed lively, high spirited and completely hilarious, there’s a genuine feeling of devotion and protectiveness emanating from him toward the Prince as well. These two behave like the brother the other never had, and the Jester makes it his responsibility to protect the Prince from the stepsister’s unwanted advances.

Carrie Imler took on a triple whammy as the Godmother, Memory Mother and Good Fairy. I must say, it takes a certain level of awesomeness to pull that off and Imler does it with style! Imler completely transformed herself each time and embodied every one of her roles to the fullest. There’s really nothing more to say about that except, “Wow!”

The four seasons - Rachel Foster (Spring), Brittany Reid (Summer), Sarah Ricard Orza (Autumn) and Laura Gilbreath (Winter), looked radiant up on that stage, each one uniquely suited for the spotlight. However, Sarah Ricard Orza and Laura Gilbreath were the clear standouts Opening Night. There was just a little extra edge weaving its way through their performances.

Jerome Tisserand (Evil Sprite), James Moore (Harlequin) and Rachel Foster (Columbine) and Carrie Imler’s “Good Fairy” captivated the audience’s attention during the third act’s “Theatre of Marvels”. The pas de deux between Moore and Foster was incredibly fun, and Tisserand’s solo variation was fierce and dynamic. However it was their pas de quatre that really kicked things up a notch! {Love.these.dancers!}

Last but by no means least, were the Memory Children, Bugs, Clock Children, Evil Sprite attendants and the Good Fairy attendants. Or to put it another way, the children! These little ones performed their hearts out in some of the most entertaining roles ever created for Pacific Northwest Ballet School students. The Sprites and Good Fairy Attendants looked like elegant miniatures of their respective masters; the Bugs performed their own charming interlude; the Memory Children brought happy moments from Cinderella’s childhood to life, and the Clock Children—or the enchanted pumpkins—provided Cinderella with the stern warning to be home by midnight.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to view one of the most dazzling fairytales come to life! Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Cinderella runs through Sunday, February 13th. For ticket information, please visit www.pnb.org

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