On Stage (Extra): Cinderella comes to Wilmington

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By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

Cinderella at the Rodney Street Playhouse.

“Cinderella,” one of the most popular fairy tales in the world, exists in many forms – more than you would imagine.

“Cinderella,” or “The Little Glass Slipper,” is a folk tale with thousands of variants throughout the world. The oldest documented version comes from China, and the oldest European version from Italy.

The most popular version was first published by Charles Perrault in “Histoires ou contes du temps passé” in 1697 and later by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection “Grimms’ Fairy Tales.”

The story of Cinderella has formed the basis of many notable works in opera, books, ballet, songs, theater, films, and television.

As a stage production, “Cinderella” debuted as a pantomime on stage at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in 1904 and at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1905.

“Cinderella” by Rodgers and Hammerstein was produced for television three times and staged live. The only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television, it was originally broadcast live on CBS in 1957 as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, who played the title role.

The musical has also been adapted for the stage in a number of versions, including a London West End pantomime adaptation, a New York City Opera production that follows the original television version closely and several touring productions.

A recent adaptation opened in 2013 on Broadway and now has been followed by a national tour. The highly-entertaining tour will visit the area for a six-day run from February 7-12 at the Playhouse on Rodney Square (10th and Market streets, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-888-0200, www.duponttheatre.com).

Sarah Primmer

“We started rehearsing in April,” said Sarah Primmer, during a phone interview Friday from a coffee shop in Manhattan. “I auditioned back in March.”

Primmer, a native of Connecticut, plays the role of Madame in the touring production.

“We teched the show at Clemson University and then opened in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September.”

Not surprisingly, the show was an immediate hit – capturing the imagination of young audience members and sparking fond memories in older audience members.

“Madame is the evil stepmother,” said Primmer, who graduated Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College with a degree in vocal performance and theater.

“It is a challenge to play a villain. As actors, we’re taught not to judge our character. But, it’s a fun challenge to be as dark as you need to be.

“This show is the revival script so there are a few new characters – and a few more storylines. And, there are some additional songs that were originally written for other Rodgers and Hammerstein shows.

“This production is a blast. I get to sing with my whole family in one number. And, I do most of the singing in ‘A Lovely Night.’

“Even though Madame is a villain, there are things I like about her. I really love how driven she is. She is a widow and has two children to take care of. She knows what she needs to do for her family and she does it…and she never asks for permission.”

The production runs for just under two hours but moves at such a quick pace that young children never lose interest.

“Audiences really love the new twist that the plot tales,” said Primmer. “It’s a bit more contemporary without losing the charm of the classic tale.

“Everything technically about the show is stunning and we have the most colorful costumes. They were created for the show by Tony Award winner William Ivey Long.”

“Cinderella” is Long’s 65th design for the Broadway stage and sixth Tony Award for Best Costume Design.

Video link for “Cinderella” — https://youtu.be/5G81B9Ge3Pk.

The show at the Playhouse at Rodney Square will run from February 7-12. Ticket prices range from $40-$90.

There is another show this week that will take audiences back to a time when things were less hectic and life was more gentle.

Mads Tolling and Mads Men

On February 6, the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) is hosting a concert by Mads Tolling, a two time Grammy Award winning violinist and the 2016  DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Award winner.

Tolling is performing his new album, “Playing The 60s.” The album includes timeless movie themes, popular TV classics and celebrated songs ranging from “The Pink Panther” and “Meet The Flintstones” to “Georgia On My Mind” and “A Taste Of Honey.”

“I grew up in Copenhagen,” said Tolling, during a phone interview last week from his home in the San Francisco Bay area. “Copenhagen was my hood for 20 years.

“I started playing violin when I was six. It was my parents’ idea. They heard that playing violin with the Suzuki method was good for concentration in school. I studied Suzuki for six years learning the classics.”

As he got older, Tolling was not content to limit himself to classical music.

“Eventually, I got attracted to the dark side – jazz, rock, all the stuff you’re not supposed to do,” said Tolling, a multiple Grammy Award winner. “The first jazz album I got was Miles Davis’ ‘Autumn Leaves.’ I was attracted to that intimacy and space.

“That took me to Stephane Grappelli and Sven Asmussen. I used that as a role model for me. Eventually, I started studying jazz. I went to a music high school and then decided to study at Berklee.”

Tolling moved to the U.S. at the age of 20 to pursue jazz studies. He studied under violinist Matt Glaser, and he graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2003. While Tolling was still attending Berklee, the renowned jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty recommended him to join Stanley Clarke’s band.

Since then, Tolling has performed more than 100 concerts with Clarke worldwide and played on Clarke’s album “Toys of Men.”

Besides his activities as a performer, Mads Tolling is an accomplished composer. In addition to his original writing on his two most recent albums, Tolling arranged one of his compositions for saxophonist Joe Lovano and string orchestra.

He has also contributed numerous arrangements and compositions to Turtle Island Quartet’s repertoire. In 2014, Tolling was commissioned by Music Director, Michael Morgan to write a Violin Concerto for Oakland East Bay Symphony.

“I joined Turtle Island Quartet and won a couple Grammys with them,” said Tolling. “That was my biggest learning experience. Then, I started my current project.”

In 2007, Tolling started his own trio and immediately recorded the album “Speed of Light.” The following year the trio expanded to a quartet featuring Mike Abraham on guitar, George Ban-Weiss on bass, Eric Garland on drums and Tolling on violin.

“Lately, I got into the theme thing from the 60s,” said Tolling. “We took all these great songs and made our own arrangements with piano instead of guitar. There were a lot of inspirations.

“I grew up watching some of these shows like ‘The Flintstones.’ I loved Clint Eastwood in ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’ and the soundtrack was great. It’s just a very rich era of music.”

Tolling’s current band Mads Men, which played on the album, includes Colin Hogan on piano and accordion, Sam Bevan on bass,  Eric Garland on drums and Tolling on violin.

Video link for Mads Tolling — https://youtu.be/d7C75j3tINE.

The show at Sellersville will get underway at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19.50 and $29.50.

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