Tinderella – The Modern Musical
Tinderella – The Modern Musical
Book by Rose Oser
Lyrics by Weston Scott
Music by Christian B Schmidt
Custom Made Theatre and Faultline Theater
Faultline Theater’s stock and trade are witty and imaginative new works catering to millennials who understand the hi-tech and social media references that pepper their recent productions. Tinderella, the culmination of a three-year creative process, cleverly bridges the gap between contemporary satire and the good old-fashioned fairytale. Presenting the World Premiere at Custom Made’s larger stage allows the creative team to fully realize their vision that now comprises two acts, 10 performers and a 5-piece orchestra.
Who doesn’t like the romance of Cinderella; we empathize with the plain, unrecognized girl who, with the help of a fairy godmother, transforms into a beauty and falls for the man of her dreams. Combine that loveliness with the modern trappings of all-invasive addicting social media like Facebook and Tinder and you’ve got a contemporary musical that should satisfy all tastes.
Rose Oser’s book is smart and funny – her cartoonish characters quirky, stereotypical and totally recognizable. She takes the necessary elements of the Cinderella story, and sets it in 2013 Oakland. Tinderella is Meg (Julianna Lustenader), an awkward, naïve waitress with big dreams of falling in love, but no clue how? Her gay roommate Dylan (Branden Noel Thompson), her fairy godfather who introduces her to the dating app Tinder, where dreams unfold. Oser’s Prince Charming is clumsy, clueless Marcus (Jackson Thea), hopelessly in love with his uncommitted girlfriend Julie (Sarah Jiang).
New musicals are making a resurgence recently, but good musicals are rare birds. Weston Scott and Christian B. Schmidt have created an engaging, lively and very hip score that moves the story along by poking fun at our reliance and obsession on technology. The opening number “Like Me” has the ensemble hoping for the ‘likes’ that define their popularity. Meg dreams of a picture-perfect life (“Picture Perfect”) like her step-sisters; Peace Corp diplomat Tanya (Alex Akin) or the glamorous fashion designer Allie (Adelyn Mendoza). In “Old School Chivalry”, the guys revel in the trend of sending dick pics online. The ensemble includes wonderful, whacky performances by: Andrew Chung, Kimberley Cohan, James Seifert and Ryan Wakamiya.
There’s plenty of humor at the expenses of our dependence on tech. People are crushed if they can’t get a response in less than 1.5 hours, the dating site is full of absolute creeps and the 12 o’clock BART shutdown is a real dream killer. Director Ken Savage is blessed with a talented ensemble and is capably assisted by award-winning lighting designer Maxx Kurzunski, choreographer Meredith Joelle Charlson, costume designer Alexis Lucio and Musical Director Joel Chapman.
Tinderella, The Modern Musical is a zany, heartwarming hit. It’s a ‘magical’ mix of good book, great songs, and standout performances. Holding up a mirror to our often-ridiculous behaviors make for some excellent comedy. There may not be a cookie cutter, fairytale ending here, but let’s get real, there rarely is.
Tinderella – The Modern Musical continues through May 26th, 2018 in production by Custom Made Theatre Co. and Faultline Theater, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco. Tickets are available online at 415.782.2682 or www.custommade.org