A Tango-Dancing Cinderella (Cenicienta Tanguera): Musical Review by Hannah Singer


I had no idea what to expect when I was invited to review this musical. But I am adventurous with eclectic tastes, so the answer was affirmative, yes I would love to experience this show.

Our destination was the Lower East Side, a hip area with cool shops and boutiques, a popular place for a fun night out. But you can still see and feel the history in the older buildings and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum where you can learn about the Jewish history in this neighborhood.

We drove over the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn. The theater was conveniently a few blocks from there, and we found parking easily as it was a weekend and downtown.

Teatro Sea stands for Society of the Educational Arts. Inc. It was established in 1985 in Puerto Rico by Dr. Manuel A Morán as the first Bilingual Arts-in-Education organization and Latino Theatre in the US. They produce socially conscious and educational theatre productions and have art programs for both children and adults.

We entered a beautiful old building, the Clemente Building, that was once a school and now houses a few theatres and art galleries as well as offices and classrooms. (We actually explored two galleries with some pretty cool art, while searching for the bathroom.)

In the lobby was a woman selling tickets, t-shirts and souvenirs from the show. Further on were a few café tables and chairs placed nicely where we saw some moms and their children sitting. We waited at the far end as people, families with children, many of them bilingual, entered.

The play was to start at 3pm, but I suppose they made allowances for latecomers with kids. It isn’t always easy to get somewhere on time with kids as you may know!

So around 3:15 we entered the small theatre with general admission seating. As people were still arriving, slowly the host came out to welcome everyone, and shortly thereafter, the show began.

We were introduced to the six characters.  Slowly I realized how the performance was going to progress. Some characters would speak both English and Spanish and sometimes the same thing would be repeated in both languages. The way it was done was interesting and done really smoothly. If someone said something, the other person would somehow use the idea in his or her words in English and visa-versa. So any person speaking only one or the other language could understand and not feel left out. I had no problem understanding, and I was not bothered by this, even though I speak no Spanish.

We all know the story of Cinderella, the classic fairy tale. This was a slightly quirky version. The host had asked us if we liked telenovelas (Latin American soap operas) and tango. I then found out why. The play was presented as a sort of telenovella, with some over-the-top performances but made funny.

The Prince (Prince Carlos Alfonso V. played by Malcolm March) was nicely portrayed as ego-maniacal in a humorous cartoony way. The evil stepmother (Catalina, the Stepmother played by Jeannie Sol) was also played well as over the top mean, in a funny way.  The two spoiled step sisters were dramatically funny too, always battling with each other (Casilda, Stepsister played by Paola Poucel, Petunia, Step sister played by Indra Palomo.

The fairy Godmother was replaced by a dwarf-like fairy Godfather  (played by Georgie Castillo) because in a funny twist, the fairy Godmother is ill and being replaced by this goofy character. This actor also plays the Prince’s servant (he comedically explains it’s because it is a low budget production.) He was a standout and got the most laughs, as he often spoke to the audience and guided us along.

There was singing and dancing throughout in clever ways. The dancers would hold one hand up as in ballroom dance, as if they were dancing with someone, but all individually coordinated together.  The main dance was the tango ballroom dance between the Prince and Cinderella (played sweetly by Jennifer Pernia).

The music was great, classic tango music. The four piece band was on stage the whole time. Sometimes they were incorporated into lines in a humorous way.   They were the Musical Director/ Piano – Emilio Teubal, Violin – Sergio Reyes, Bandeón – David Hodges, and Celloist –  Pablo Lanouguere. It was enjoyable to see the Bandoneon being played. (Bandeón – the traditional type of concertina or accordian played in tangos).

The show ended with Cinderella finding her voice and the step sisters changing their tune in order to stay in Cinderella’s life.  Afterwards, we were introduced to the cast and band, and everyone said where they came from. There was a Q & A with the audience. They spoke and answered some sweet and smart questions from kids. They asked the audience who speaks a 2nd or 3rd language, and almost all raised their hand.  The actors and musicians also came into the audience, and people took photos and selfies with them.

The show is recommended for 2nd to 8th grade students, but has a broader appeal. Both my tween and I enjoyed! An educational and entertaining show that, in NYC, where so many immigrants and Spanish speakers live, is much needed.

The show is running through March 28, 2020.

Visit www.teatrosea.org

Teatro Sea – The Nation’s Premiere Latino Theater for Young Audiences
Society for the Educational Arts
The Clemente Building
107 Suffolk St, Suite 202, NYC 10002

Book & Lyrics by Manuel A Morán
Directed and Produced by Manuel A Morán
Original Music by Iván Alexander Bautista & Manuel A Morán
Translated by Jerome Van Rossum
Choreography by Daniel Fetecua
Musical Direction & Arrangements by Pedro Giraudo
Set Design by José López
Costume Design by Ingrid Harris

The actors and musicians alternate performances.  We saw the following: 

Cinderella – Jennifer Pernia
Prince Carlos Alfonso V. – Malcolm March
Dwarf Godfather –  Georgie Castillo
Catalina, the Stepmother –  Jeannie Sol
Casilda, Stepsister –  Paola Poucel
Petunia, Stepsister –  Indra Palomo
Musical Director/ Piano – Emilio Teubal
Violin – Sergio Reyes
Bandeón – David Hodges
Celloist –  Pablo Lanouguere

 

 

 

 

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  1. One Response to “A Tango-Dancing Cinderella (Cenicienta Tanguera): Musical Review by Hannah Singer”

  2. Thank You so much for coming !! I am Happy you enjoyed it. We hope to see you again for our other productions.
    The lady pictured is not me. That is Iliana who plays Stepmother when I am not available.
    Excellent Actor and Singer also.
    May you always join us to the Magic of Theater. 💖💖💖💖💖

    By Jeannie Sol Stepmother Cinderella on Feb 26, 2020