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Bad Cinderella: Go or No?

By Aaron Schoepf

One of the most recent new shows on Broadway is by the one and only Andrew Loyd Webber. Andrew Lloyd Webber is one of the most famous musical composers, writing shows like Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, School of Rock, Joseph and the Technicolor dream coat, and most recently, Bad Cinderella. Andrew Llyod Webber has won numerous Tony awards, and has been working on Broadway, and off-broadway for years. His most recent work, Bad Cinderella, is about the kingdom of BelleVille, Prince charming is dead, Cinderella’s God-mother is a plastic surgeon who upholds strict beauty standards for those in the kingdom, and cinderella is a rebel who spray-paints and dreams of running away.

The musical is described by Erin Cavoto of The New York Times as, “camp-infused take on the classic tale filled with heart, humor, and a happily ever after focused on Cinderella finding herself, not just prince charming.” The show is currently getting a bad rap, especially from younger audiences. Most reviews acknowledge that the actors are doing amazing, but the writing is what makes the show bad. A post on Reddit, on the subreddits “r/Broadway” says, “Bad Cinderella is getting a lot of hate because people are starting to hate Andrew Lloyd Webber, especially after what happened to the London cast. A lot of people are also bandwagoning on the hate train just for fun. People are going into the show ready to hate it…”

Then into their actual review of the show, “NO it's not ‘bad’ and definitely not as bad as people have been trying to make it seem (for example calling it the worst show on Broadway ever).....That being said, it's not ‘good’ either. It's okay, mediocre and non-memorable. If you like Broadway shows or if you're a tourist it's worth seeing on a discount ticket. I would not break anything trying to get a ticket though. It's not something you're going to write home about (good or bad). If you go in expecting it to be bad you will be just as disappointed as if you went in expecting ALW's next Phantom.”

He also says, “The story is so-so. If you don't know, it's about a town where superficiality and vanity are the norm, but Cinderella is ‘not like the other girls’ in town. She's a rebel who doesn't care about beauty and airheadedness. Meanwhile the Prince is NOT Prince Charming. He's his dweeby little brother. And that's about it. The rest of the story is the same Cinderella story. It's not really adding much to the tale, which makes you wonder why? Why do we need another Cinderella story? The girl has already been genderswapped, anachronistic, time-traveled, hip-hopped, modernized, race-swapped and reimagined ad nauseum. This version doesn't really add anything special to the story or use the story to make any compelling statement. Even the ending is anticlimactic. You know what's going to happen, so when Cinderella and the prince kiss and run off together you are left wondering why you don't give a shit. Nothing in the story made you think that was not going to happen or it was at jeopardy.”

We’re left wondering why the story is any different than the original. This tracks with a lot of people’s opinions of the show. There are some reviews that say the story is great, but I haven’t been able to come across one that really recommends the musical. This brings me to wonder why this show is on Broadway, and how it got there. Many believe that the West-end was much better, but once it went to Broadway, some of the changes made it much different. No matter what, although this show might not be for everyone, it certainly is an interesting take on the classic story.

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