It’s a love story, a beloved rags-to-riches fairy tale and, mostly, a story of living happily ever after.
And next month, those who make the three-hour drive to Pittsburgh will have multiple opportunities to appreciate the story of Cinderella.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre closed the curtain on its first “happily ever after” in 2009, and Cinderella is back for the 2012-2013 season, slated to dazzle Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center with four performances during the weekend of April 19-21.
Julia Erickson, who played the Fairy Godmother in the 2009 production, describes the show as “playful, whimsical and humor-filled.” The intrinsic comedy of the story draws from novel characters with vibrant personalities, such as the wig-makers and dress-makers in the first scene, as well as the fact that the two evil stepsisters are actually men in drag, Erickson says.
Over the course of the production’s roughly two-hour duration, the ballet’s plot will unravel amid the backdrop of the intricate, ever-changing set and beautiful costumes, all purchased from choreographer Septime Webre before the show’s original Pittsburgh premiere, says Artistic Director Terence Orr.
“It is a wordless performance, so the storyline must be rendered through graceful movements, facial expressions and gesture,” Orr says.
“You can talk to your best friend without saying a word.”
Erickson views the lack of words as a liberating limitation, noting that when one sense is removed, the others are heightened.
“Ballet dancers are great at conveying fantasy because the very nature of ballet is otherworldly, and the performers onstage are performing physical feats that translate very well to the fantastic,” Erickson says.
Although sweeping gesture defines the ballet, audiences have the opportunity to see shows expressed any number of ways in Pittsburgh’s 14-block cultural district that includes nine venues, including the Benedum Center, Heinz Hall and Byham Theater. The district puts on roughly 2,300 performances and attracts about 2 million patrons a year.
“I think people would be astounded and amazed by Pittsburgh’s thriving arts scene,” says Lynn Glover, spokeswoman for Visit Pittsburgh.
Out-of-towners visiting the city to experience Cinderella from April 19-21 can also see Barry Manilow at the Consol Energy Center on Friday or the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at the Petersen Event Center on Saturday, and can also enjoy Craft Beer Week, which runs April 19-27.
The Pittsburgh Opera will perform La Cenerentola, its own version of the classic, April 27 through May 5.
Andrea Frazier is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.