On one of our first dates, my soon-to-be husband took me to the Boulder Dinner Theater to see South Pacific. As the character Emile sang Rodgers and Hammerstein’s intoxicating Some Enchanted Evening, love was in the air. Over the next two decades, often with our daughters in tow, we saw everything from Cats and Hello Dolly, to Singin’ in the Rain and Chicago.
Alas, the enchanted spell of that first evening didn’t last, and 20-years later, like Nellie in South Pacific, I ‘washed that man right out of my hair.’ On the upside, my divorce did nothing to alter my fondness for Boulder’s live theater, so when Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was recently on the bill, my youngest daughter and I had front row seats.
And so the story of Cinderella begins with her huddled near the fireplace embers–in the cinders–awaiting the next summons from her nasty stepmother and stepsisters. You know the rest. She is eventually rescued from her miserable life after a brief but starstruck meeting with Prince Charming.
But as the curtain opened, it was almost immediately clear that this Cinderella was atypical. Yes, she had the classic, angelic face. And yes, her soaring voice was exquisite. But as she made her way toward the center of the stage to sing her first number, she seemed to be limping, and it was soon obvious that she was disabled. It turns out the highly successful 20-year old actress, Jenna Bainbridge, lives with partial paralysis in her lower body, an unexplained condition that struck her when she was just 16-months old. Read more…