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Theater Review: 'Cinderella' 2.5 stars

Laura Osnes as Cinderella; Harriet Harris (stepmother) and

Laura Osnes as Cinderella; Harriet Harris (stepmother) and Marla Mindelle, Ann Harada as stepsisters. Credit: Laura Osnes as Cinderella; Harriet Harris (stepmother) and Marla Mindelle, Ann Harada as stepsisters

2.5 stars

There has never been a need for "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinder-ella" - which has been filmed for TV three times and is constantly staged by schools and community theaters - to be on Broadway.

When the songwriting duo's lightweight but breezy take on the fairy tale premiered on TV in 1957 with Julie Andrews in the lead role, it was seen by 107 million viewers, which represented more than half of the country.

While nowhere near as ambitious as their greatest musicals, it has a handful of pleasant songs like "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible; It's Possible" and "Ten Minutes Ago."

The TV remakes expanded the show with more Rodgers & Hammerstein songs. The Broadway "Cinderella" goes even further and inflates it to the point of bursting.

In Douglas Carter Beane's revised book, the prince is being dominated by a villainous adviser while Cinderella and a politically minded friend try to speak up for the poor. While Beane adds plenty of sassy and flamboyant humor, his version is crowded, clumsy and directionless - especially throughout Act Two.

These problems aside, there is still much to appreciate in director Mark Brokaw's admittedly lavish production. Cinderella's quick and seamless transition from rags to ballgown is especially impressive.

The radiant Laura Osnes, who has previously appeared in other Rodgers & Hammerstein shows, including "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music," brings a confident edge to the title character.

If you go: Cinderella plays an open run at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, 212-239-6200, cinder


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