Nguyen putting on shoe of Fullard
Cinderella Enchanted at Berkeley Playhouse stars Vinh G. Nguyen and Kennedy Joy Fullard. Credit: Ben Krantz Studio

Who doesn’t love the story of Cinderella?

Just in time for the holidays comes a newly updated version of Cinderella Enchanted, suitable for all the youngsters in your life (and, yes, you as well). This celebrated Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical version of the age-old tale originally aired on television in 1997, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston.

Cinderella Enchanted, Berkeley Playhouse, through Dec. 22

But this is Cinderella Enchanted Berkeley-style. In this production, Cinderella is an aspiring Berkeley artist, and Prince Christopher is Silicon Valley royalty, both wishing for their fairy tale ending of happily ever after.

Director and choreographer Khalia Davis told Berkeleyside, “We have to stick to the words and lyrics of the script, but our ensemble represents the diversity of Berkeley and the greater Bay Area! Berkeley is full of artisans and creative thought leaders, so we have both craftspeople as well as technology incorporated throughout the show.” To add to the local flavor, “Our set has a few shops that are painted in the style of recognizable eateries and locations in Berkeley,” said Khalia Davis. They include the Cheese Board and the Butcher’s Son.

In Berkeley Playhouse’s Cinderella Enchanted, Cinderella and her Prince fall in love because of their virtues rather than external factors. Kindness, integrity, humility, forgiveness, and interracial marriage are positive messages. Although there is some name-calling, bullying, and comical slap-stick fights, this production is designed to be very kid-friendly.

Among the large cast of professional actors, Kennedy Joy Fullard stars as Cinderella, Jennifer Marie Frazier is the fairy godmother, and Vinh G. Nguyen plays Prince Christopher. Music is by Richard Rodgers, and the book and lyrics are by Oscar Hammerstein II. The play was adapted for the stage by Tom Briggs from the teleplay by Robert L. Freedman. Vocal direction is by Erika Oba and is conducted by Jessica Igarashi.

Cinderella Enchanted runs through Dec. 22 at Berkeley Playhouse, at the Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. With 23 musical numbers, the production runs two hours, including one 15-minute intermission. Audience members are encouraged to dress in their favorite Cinderella-themed outfits and costumes to make their experience seeing Cinderella Enchanted special. Tickets are $35- $52, with some discounts available. Call: 510-845-8542, extension 351.

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Emily S. Mendel reviews Berkeley’s vibrant theater scene for Berkeleyside. As a native New Yorker (although an East Bay resident for most of her life), Emily grew up loving and studying theater, from...