Cinderella is going to be the belle of the ball in Westbury.
Lesley Ann Warren, who shot to fame playing the fairy-tale princess in the 1965 television production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” will trade her glass slippers for a pair of dancing shoes as she headlines “Dance to the Movies” at NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Thursday night. The show, a series of production numbers performed to cinematic scores from “Singin’ in the Rain” to the “Harry Potter” movies, also features “Dancing With the Stars” pro Tony Dovolani and former “American Idol” contestants Vonzell Solomon and Von Smith. Warren’s two numbers, in which she sings and dances, are among the show’s highlights.
“I do sort of a lyrical adagio with a male dancer to ‘Moon River,’ and then ‘Blues in the Night’ is very sort of sassy and sexy with about four or five of the dancers,” she says.
Warren, who studied ballet while growing up in New York City, hasn’t danced professionally since the Broadway musical “Dream” in 1997. So she was surprised at how easily she was able to pick up the steps for her two routines. “I’m kind of blown away by the muscle memory that has come back to me from all those years of training,” she says. “It’s still there.”
The actress, who earned an Oscar nomination for the 1982 musical comedy “Victor, Victoria” and became a cult figure as Miss Scarlett in the 1985 comic mystery “Clue,” has been touring with “Dance to the Movies” since last summer, but wasn’t originally scheduled to play Westbury. She signed on earlier this month as a fill-in for Oscar winner Shirley Jones after she had to drop out.
“They asked me literally last week while I was on tour in Staten Island if I could do this one, too,” Warren says. “So it should be an adventure because I’ve never done a musical in the round.”
Producer Scott Stander isn’t worried. “The audience goes nuts for her,” he says. “She’s 70, but she still looks like Cinderella. During her first number, the audience always starts cheering.”
More of a challenge, Warren says, has been the hectic touring schedule. “I’ve done Broadway and theater in L.A., but I’ve never gotten on a plane and the next day performed in a city and then gotten on a plane and flown from one coast to the next,” she says. “The performing itself is exhilarating and fantatistic, but the traveling is exhausting.”
FILLING OUT THE ‘DANCE’ CARD
In addition to Warren, Stander is happy to have Dovolani touring with the show, especially since he could not perform two years ago in Stander’s previous dance extravaganza, “Ballroom With a Twist.”
“People love his energy and natural ability to connect with the audience,” Stander says.
Solomon and Smith perform a tribute to the late composer Marvin Hamlisch, and there are additional numbers choreographed by “Dancing With the Stars” pros, including Chelsie Hightower and Lacey Schwimmer. He adds that the show presents a mix designed to appeal to all ages.
“The kids like the numbers for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Matrix’ because they know those movies,” he says, “but then the older people love the other stuff.”
And, he hopes, they’ll leave the theater happier and maybe whistling some of those tunes. “This is show where people can just come and let go of every problem they had going into the theater,” he says. “They can just have a great time and relive those wonderful memories of where they were when they were watching these movies.”
WHAT “Dance to the Movies”
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m Thursday, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
INFO $39.50-$49.50; 800-745-3000, livenation.com