NATIONAL NEWS

Review: Broadway’s ‘Bad Cinderella’ gets lost in the woods

Mar 24, 2023, 5:49 AM

Linedy Genao appears at the curtain call for "Bad Cinderella" on opening night at the Imperial Thea...

Linedy Genao appears at the curtain call for "Bad Cinderella" on opening night at the Imperial Theatre on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

As you settle into your seat at Broadway’s “Bad Cinderella,” the subtle sound of piped-in birdsong greets you. Enjoy it while you can. The next few hours will be a frantic onslaught.

The show that opened Thursday at the Imperial Theatre is a hyped-up, over-caffeinated fractured fairy tale that loses its way in the forest and wastes some of the nicest melodies Andrew Lloyd Webber has written in decades. It’s lewd and smugly arch and increasingly tiresome.

The titular star — a fine Linedy Genao — plays a so-called rebel in the beauty-obsessed town of Belleville, set somewhere in a France that has bikini waxes and also swordsmen. She doesn’t wash her hair, eschews manicures and even spray-paints “Beauty Sucks” on a statue of Prince Charming. What a rebel! She is clearly the creation of old people.

The book by Emerald Fennell nominally tries to argue that conformity and surfaces are the enemy but doesn’t have the verve to finish that argument, ending up with a musical that would have been mildly progressive in 1995.

The lyrics by David Zippel can be seen coming a mile away. He’s the kind of guy who rhymes “Cinderella” with “salmonella” and “fault” with “assault.” Director Laurence Connor pitches everything at 11, a never-ending streak of ruffles, pectoral muscles and power singing.

The tone is set early, with a trio of milkmaids in low-cut costumes offering dairy that has been “squeezed by my hand” and a shirtless baker screaming “Hot buns! Check out my hot buns!” It sort of undercuts the show’s theme of empowerment when much of the material seems cribbed from a middle school boy’s imagination.

In this tale, the evil stepsisters act like Valley Girl airheads, the Godmother performs plastic surgery to make people look better and we have two princes — Charming, a “man’s man” who is “hot enough to blister” and his brother Sebastian, a “human sleeping pill.”

Broadway is awash with royalty these days, from “Six” to “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” to “Camelot” — and fairy tales were just on with “Into the Woods.” “Bad Cinderella” pilots a rocky course by wanting to tell a princess story with a non-conformist who then conforms.

Being British, it naturally also reveals a ton of psychodrama when it comes to royalty, ripping the institution whenever it can, from breeding and privilege to perhaps a dig at more recent events: “Nothing like the marriage of a prince to a commoner to give the illusion of equality and stop people getting all revolution-y.”

One bright spot is Carolee Carmello, who is simply perfection as the evil stepmother, rattling off insults with aplomb — “Gain one more ounce and you’ll be disowned!” — and offering a great duet with the queen, “I Know You.” Other standout songs include “Only You, Lonely You” and “Unfair.” But “Far Too Late” never seems to end and the trio singing “Moment of Triumph” step on each other.

There’s just too much here, from the over-the-top costumes to cast members milling in the audience, to the fog machine going into overdrive to men twerking onstage to a uselessly detailed map of Belleville slipped into the Playbill. “Oh my God, do you ever stop?” a prince even at one point asks Cinderella.

This is a musical that simply outstays its welcome, unable to finish, or as it likes to repeatedly joke, have a “happy ending.” You will long for the sound of birdsong.

___

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

National News

Associated Press

Text of the policy statement the Federal Reserve released Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Below is the statement the Federal Reserve released Wednesday after its latest policy meeting ended: Recent indicators suggest that economic activity has continued to expand at a solid pace. Job gains have remained strong, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Inflation has eased over the past year but remains elevated. In […]

40 minutes ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit of last Tulsa Race Massacre survivors seeking reparations

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit of the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, dampening the hope of advocates for racial justice that the government would make amends for one of the worst single acts of violence against Black people in U.S. history. The nine-member […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

High school president writes notes thanking fellow seniors — 180 of them

Emily Post would be proud. A high school class president in Massachusetts who gave a commencement speech wanted to recognize all of his fellow graduates. So he wrote them personal thank-you notes presented at the ceremony — 180 to be exact. “I wish I could’ve acknowledged you all, but there was simply not enough time,” […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

AP-NORC poll: About half of US adults approve of Trump’s conviction, but views of him remain stable

NEW YORK (AP) — About half of U.S. adults approve of Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey shows some potential vulnerabilities, along with some signs of resilience in his support, as Trump tries to become the first American with a felony […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times […]

5 hours ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

5 hours ago

Review: Broadway’s ‘Bad Cinderella’ gets lost in the woods