It's at the Arden Theatre Company in Old City right now. Artistic director Matt Decker says the script is part of the difference, but everyone from producers to costume designers to actors took one another's pulse, so to speak, and let their collective feelings shape how the story is told.
The production carefully respects the original. Cinderella's father still remarries, and so there are the stepsisters. They're still self-centered. There's still the chance meeting with the prince and the unlikely way he and the mistreated girl find one another again. And there's the fairy godmother working her magic. But this story has unique twists...more about the values kids learn from the story.
Cinderella is more interested in finding a friend than in being a princess. She comes to befriend her stepmother and the stepsisters. If you will, there's a greater sense of living happily ever after. This is also a typical Arden production for children. The set provides structure to tell the story, but it's minimal.
It enables the audience to focus on the story and the characters, and that enhances hearing what they say and learning the story's lessons.
The Arden is committed to making children's theatre educational. Performers stick around after the show to answer questions and meet with the young audience. Often, they meet the kids before they even get to the playhouse, going into classrooms, doing a bit of the show and helping kids learn about live performances before they ever set foot in a theatre.
Along the way, kids have opportunity to appreciate drama, develop a taste for it, and perhaps become lifelong fans. Cinderella is performed nine times a week, days and nights except Mondays, through January 27th.
The Arden is at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City Philadelphia, just north of Market Street. In addition to children's shows, there are also general audience productions, and subscriptions and memberships are available.
For information, visit the company's website, Arden Theatre, or phone 215-922-1122. Tickets for all shows are available online, by phone, or in person at the box office.