"They have real seats," said one towheaded tot who didn't seem particularly nostalgic about the hard, old bleachers in the troupe's old space at the Mission Center Mall. The house proceeded to sit back in comfort to take in Cinderella -- not the Rodgers and Hammerstein version, alas, but a competent one by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy.
It's not clear which composing team took more liberties with the original Charles Perrault fairy tale, yet its familiar underpinnings certainly hold up this one. The Fairy Godmother (a comically indulgent Teri Adams) is surrounded by a young entourage whose collective task is to investigate the planet's "neediest cases." They find their princess for a day: orphaned Ella (April Bauman), now living a life of neglect and domestic servitude under her wicked stepmother (Johnnie Bowls, looking like Ru Paul crossed with Marie Antoinette) and the seven little wretches that make up her extended family.
Across the village lives the myopic King (Parry Luellen) and his unhappily engaged son, Prince Charming (Javier Rivera). To find the loveless Prince a new bride, the royals hold a ball, which, after some benevolent meddling by Fairy Godmother, Ella attends in style. Thanks to Sheryl Bryant's costumes, Ella looks lovely, and her stepsisters resemble a deck of Old Maid playing cards, with frocks and fright wigs as atrocious as their manners. Ending on that lesson for the ages, beauty triumphs over beastliness.
The show's melodies are repeated a tad much, and its rhymes are fairly pedestrian. But Adams and Bowls are funny in unobtrusive ways, and the story maintains its pleasing hook. Cinderella is one of TYA's occasional shows that feature child thespians from the company's acting classes and, as such, it has those usual flaws: breathy or off-key singing, some clumsy dancing, and a few youngsters prone to mugging. But what am I going to do, beat up on a kid?