Emerald City Theatre: “Cinderella”

Cinderella at the Emerald City Theatre. Here’s the entertainment appetizer to a holiday tea at American Girl Place—Emerald City’s “Cinderella.”

Now playing at the Broadway Playhouse, this production is perfect for a gaggle of preschool-through-fourth-grade girls on a shopping field trip with their moms or their Brownie troop. The hour-long show captures all the highlights, from Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters, Grace and Temperance (played on a comedic note by Tommy Bullington and Mark Kosten) to the fairy Godmother (Jennifer T. Grubb) and Cinderella’s magical transformation.

Missy Karle does a fantastic job with the lead role—always pleasant even in despair, selling the “keep your chin up” concept to the youngsters in attendance without being overly sappy for the adults. Corey Mills’ Wesley also features prominently—the Prince’s valet who really, really doesn’t want his charge to find his bride. The Prince, whose presence is meant to advocate for responsibility, is played well by Blake Reddick. I wasn’t feeling the emotional connection between his character and Cinderella, but again, it’s a kids’ show, and safely in the zone for chaste audiences.

A couple things to keep in mind: this is for the kids, so be prepared for a squirmy, talkative crowd. No one’s going to hear your cell phone vibrate. Also, see if you can spot Dr. Frankenfurter on stage. I know it’s not purposeful, but when you’ve got guys in drag playing the evil stepsisters, there’s a comparison you can’t help but to make.

Conveniently located next to the Ritz-Carlton at Water Tower Place, you can simply walk across the drive for those American Girl Place lunch reservations, and spend the rest of the afternoon shopping—a great holiday visit downtown.

“Cinderella” is playing through January 6 at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St. Tickets range from $16-22 and can be purchased at broadwayinchicago.com or by calling 800-775-2000.