by Sue Ann Rybak
There’s never been a Cinderella like this before. The Philadelphia Performance Project’s production of “If the Slipper Fits” is a musical comedy featuring The Mob, tapping stepsisters, palace occupiers, bawdy royalty, new love interests and a hot-blooded heist, all set in the classic fairy tale.
In one song the reluctant Fairy Godmother sings to Cinderella, “I’ve got other clients,” and goes on to list the reasons she’s too busy to help.
“There’s been many more, Cinderella
One Egyptian Pharaoh
The Pyramids and Sphinx, Cinderella
Chalk them up to …. Moi!
They’d have you believe Cinderella
Mrs. Mozart had a prodigy
Right! A baby writing symphonies?
What a genius! What a god!
There’s Moses and Edison, Einstein, DaVinci, Napoleon too
You’ll see that my roster reads like an historic ‘Who’s Who’
And it don’t include you.”
Just when things look hopeless for her, “The Godfather” and his cohort arrive to help get “Cindy” to the ball, but things are not always what they seem.
The musical is the creation of Eastern Montgomery County musician Mickey Leone and Philadelphia playwright Pat McGeever. The idea to produce the show came after contacting Joe O’Brien, director of Pennbrook Middle School Theater that has a tradition of performing original productions. Leone said the show was so successful that they decided to put on a show geared for adults. The script for the current production of “If the Slipper Fits” was written by Tom Kerrigan, who is also the director.
Just as in the original Cinderella story, there are class issues — “the poor tying to ascend to the royals,” said Leone, who is the executive producer.
“There are some familiar things; there is a slipper being lost, but what it means is totally different,” said producer Angela Bleemer, of Springfield Township.
Glenn Kraft, of Jamison, plays a character named Rob. “He is a very independent and sometimes headstrong individual, which ultimately gets him into trouble,” Kraft said. “He’s kind of a character who comes in on the scene, and you kind of learn more about him as it progresses. He does allude to the fact that he was orphaned at a young age, and the Godfather came and took him under his wing and presumably taught him how the world is.”
Kraft said the opportunity to work on an original production appealed to him. “It’s very interesting to do an original piece because you are memorizing it and acting it while it is still being written,” said Kraft. “It’s a leap of faith. It’s an interesting experience because technically you are helping to develop this story as well as the writers, directors and producers because you are the first person to ever act that role … The play is very different from the first time I read it.”
Leone emphasized that “If the Slipper Fits” is not a kiddie show. While it is a family-friendly show, it is primarily geared toward an adult audience. According to the executive producer, if one theme holds true throughout the play, it’s that “The magic is knowing you are part of something greater than yourself.”
“If the Slipper Fits” runs from Thursday, Sept. 19, to Saturday, Sept. 21. All performances begin at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church Hall, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. Tickets are $20. For tickets or for more information, visit livearts-fringe.org or philadelphiaperformanceproject.com.