Professional Artists of the Pacific has a reputation for conjuring up silly, slightly skewed versions of children's classics, but its reprise production of "Cinderella" at the new ProArts Playhouse in Kihei has to be the wackiest, wildest one of them all.
Keiki are welcomed at the door by a friendly auntie in a Mardi Gras mask handing out "magic wands" which they're instructed to wave at the appropriate time. (Spoiler alert! It involves a pumpkin and a dress). From that moment on, the enchanted audience has a sense that it's been transported to a land where "anything can happen if you let it." The theme song, borrowed from Disney's multimillion-dollar Broadway version of "Mary Poppins," really rings true; cast members mingle, chat, and dance with young audience members through the hour-long course of the perfectly-paced production.
Vinnie Linares plays Percival, the king's kindhearted page with whimsy and lots of audience-directed winks. When things get weird with Cindy's over-the-top stepsisters, Gauntina and Pudgina (you get the picture), his astonished eye rolls mirror the audience's reaction to their shocking behavior and reassure the parents that the show might get a little "Pee Wee's Playhouse," but will not cross the border into John Waters territory.
Pro-Arts of the Pacific photo
Lehua Simon is Cinderella and Caleb Rhodes is Prince Rupert in this family-friendly comedy.
Young audience members love that all the characters, even Cinderella (Lehua Simon) and Prince Rupert (Caleb Rhodes), need a bit of help navigating through the story. The kids watching are more than happy to lend a hand because they know way more about what's going on than the adults do (but what else is new?) When Kristi Scott first enters as the Fairy Godmother, her bibbity-bobbity's a bit discombobulated. Sparks fly, smoke billows, but she's not quite sure which story she's popped in on. The kids set poor F.G. straight when her megalomaniacal right-hand mouse (Tom Althouse) isn't available.
But the best part of all is that magic moment when the lights go down, the kids wave those magic wands and- bam! - Cindy's got her freak 'um dress on. The gasps are audible.
Whisk your family down to the ProArts Theater before the stroke of midnight! You'll be thoroughly entertained in Maui's newest performing arts space.
Catch ProArts' "Cinderella" at 7:30 p.m Fridays and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May 30. Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 for children and seniors, available online at www.proartspacific.com or by calling the box office at 875-4367. After the performance the audience is invited to schmooze with the characters. Don't forget your cameras and autograph books!