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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Bad Cinderella” At The Imperial Theatre, Saturday, March 4th, 2023 In Previews Reviewed

If Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom Of The Opera” turned Broadway Musicals on their head, and its first child Stephen Schwartz’s “Wicked” set the template for what is Broadway in 2023 by dumbing it down for teenage girls, “Six” and “& Juliet” run summerstock variants, and now Andrew Lloyd webber comes back for the win with his “Bad Cinderella” -a woke pop show tailor made for teens Gen Z girls and baffled romantics everywhere.

After a truncated, somewhat bilious, run on the West End at the height of Covid as “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella”, it is now “Bad Cinderella” and airing in previews on Broadway in a pretty good production. If you saw The GoGos short lived “Head Over Heels” you’ll have an idea of not just the time and place but also the type of music ALW has composed, and if you enjoyed “Head Over Heels” -which I did, you will enjoy “Bad Cinderella.

With the book by Emerald Fennell -she was head writer on “Killing Eve” Season Two, and lyricist David Zippel (a Tony Award and two Oliviers graduate) wrote the words, ALW alumni Laurence Connor directed, and veteran of 21 productions JoAnn M. Hunter did the choreography. With an entirely different cast from the West End run, (Bad) Cinderella is Lenedy Ganao and she is ALW’s first Latina performer to originate a leading role in one of his productions. Lenedy is supposed to be ordinary and not fit to be Princess (or Queen), she is seen as an outsider and a troublemaker in the paradise that is Belleville, France, but she is movie ordinary and while that wasn’t true on the West End production it is here. Bad Cinderella is in love with Prince Charming’s kid brother Prince Sebastian (Jordan Dobson), he is a Harry Spare to his brother’s someday I will be King William-Charming. And everything goes on as it has since the Queen’s husband died… until disaster struck and Charming died fighting a dragon.

Into this upside down fairy tale tailored for the all inclusive 2020s, Sebastian is groomed to marry and take over the Kingdom culminating in a Royal Ball where every eligible woman is invited… and it all goes pear shaped. The story ends with a great twist and everybody lives happily ever after. It’s a pleasant evening with a lovely score and a handful of really good songs, the dance this mess around “Bad Cinderella”, the power ballad “I Know I Have A Heart (Because You Broke It)” and the novelty song “I Know You” with the Queen (Grace McLean -never has been Marie Antoinette been sweeter) and the Stepmother (Carolee Carmello) until you realize it’s a walt, are show highlights

But it is a slight evening. This isn’t the swimming pool on stage starring Glenn Close “Sunset Boulevard”, this is the less well known “Whistle Down The Wind” -bereft of star power it stands on its own two feet and will have fantastic second life if he turns down the woke stuff at High School gymnasiums everywhere but Florida. It wasn’t great but it was a good good time.

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