Paper Mill Playhouse brought to life the world premiere of the musical Ever After. This show is a production that takes the audience on a journey with an amazing score, and a story that hits all the right notes. Ever After is a retelling of the fairytale Cinderella, and it is a story about a character, Danielle, who teaches those around her compassion and empathy. The production of Ever After at Paper Mill Playhouse is an enchanting musical that audiences of all ages will enjoy.
Ever After is adapted from the 1998 film starring Drew Barrymore, and is a retelling of the classic fairytale, Cinderella. This highly anticipated show is being directed and choreographed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall. The plot of the story focuses on the protagonist, Danielle, who is compassionate, strong and witty, but who is forced into servitude when her father dies. Danielle’s stepmother, Rodmilla, shows no love for Danielle and is extremely unkind to her, as she forces her into a role of servitude within her late father’s house. Rodmilla desperately tries to marry off her two biological daughters, and sets her goals on having one of her daughters marry the Prince. Ever After has a score by Zina Goldrich and book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler. Ever After at Paper Mill Playhouse is a musical that has dazzling musical numbers and a superb cast.
The cast of Ever After, under the direction of Kathleen Marshall (who also serves as the choreographer) are energetic and captivating. Playing the role of Danielle de Barbarac is Margo Seibert. Seibert is witty and compassionate, and I loved her in this role. Her song “I Remember” is sentimental with powerful vocals, and one of her best songs in the production. Additionally, Seibert expertly portrays her character’s strength in the confrontation scene in act two between Danielle and her stepmother, played by Christine Ebersole. The dynamic between these two incredible actors is astounding in this scene. James Snyder portrays Prince Henry, and he is perfectly charming in this role. Everything about Snyder’s performance is absolutely flawless, and his duet with Seibert at the end of act one, “Out of the Darkness” is beautiful. Christine Ebersole plays Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, and she is spectacular in this part. Ebersole gives a standup performance as the unscrupulous stepmother. In addition, her song, “After All” is impeccably performed. Mara Davi and Annie Funke play the stepsisters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. These two skillfully breathe life into these two sisters that have very different personalities. Davi plays Marguerite, who is self-centered, and Funke plays Jacqueline who shows a measure of compassion and empathy as she also feels the pain of her mother’s scorn. Prince Henry’s parents, King Francis of France and Queen Marie of France are played by Charles Shaughnessy and Julie Halston. These two fine actors are magnificent in these roles, and add a bit of humor throughout the show. Danielle’s best friend, Gustave, is portrayed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger. Keenan-Bolger radiates energy and a sense of good natured humor each time he is on stage, and he adds a certain welcoming charm to his role. Tony Sheldon portrays Leonardo da Vinci, and Sheldon is an enlightening force in this role. Sheldon is the voice of intellect and kindness as the Great Master da Vinci. All the fine actors involved with this production did a wonderful job in bringing this show to life. There is one song in particular in act one, “All Hail the Gypsy Queen,” that was my favorite group number in the production as it incorporates amazing choreography and lively performances. Lastly, I found this production highly enjoyable, from the abundant energy, vibrant performances, to the overall charm, wit and wisdom of the story.
I also need to mention the creative team behind this production. Derek McLane designed the grand set. Jess Goldstein designed the beautiful and elegant costumes. Olivia Sebeksy and Derek McLane are the Projection Designers. Peter Kaczorowski serves as the Lighting Designer and Nevin Steinberg is the Sound Designer. The Fight Directors are Rick Sordelet and Christian Kelly-Sordelet. In addition, David Gardos is the Music Director.
Ever After runs at the Paper Mill Playhouse through June 21, 2015. For more information please visit their website at www.papermill.org or call their box office at 973-376-4343.
Final Thought: Ever After at Paper Mill Playhouse is an enchanting musical that is perfect for the entire family. The show has outstanding musical numbers and a dynamic cast. This show is magical as it tells the tale of Danielle de Barbarac, and it offers a fresh perspective on the classic Cinderella tale.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.
Photo 1: Photo by Jerry Dalia; Margo Seibert (Danielle) and Christine Ebersole (Rodmilla).
Photo 2: Photo by Jerry Dalia; From left to right: Annie Funke (Jacqueline), Christine Ebersole (Rodmilla) and Mara Davi (Marguerite).
Photo 3: Photo by Jerry Dalia; Charles Shaughnessy (King Francis) and Tony Sheldon (Leonardo da Vinci).
Cover Photo: Photo by Jerry Dalia; The company of Ever After.