12See the enchanting world of fairy tales come to life on May 7 as the World Ballet Series presents “Cinderella” at the Crown Theatre in Fayetteville.
With the dulcet tones of Sergei Prokofiev’s enduring score wafting from the orchestra pit, audiences are sure to be awed by the lush hand-painted sets, gorgeous costumes and breathtaking choreography of Marina Kessler.

“Rhodopis” in Ancient Greece, “Yeh-Shen” in China, the story of Cinderella has gone by many names dating back to the first century. Today, there are as many as 1500 different versions of “Cinderella” in circulation.

Though the tale of a young woman who undergoes an extraordinary reversal of fortune exists in some form or another throughout many different cultures, literary versions such as “Aschenputtel” (“The Little Ash Girl”) by The Brothers Grimm of Germany and the story of “Cendrillon…” by French author Charles Perrault, are perhaps the most well known.

Perrault’s version is the basis for Walt Disney’s 1950 animated feature, “Cinderella," whose singing mice and bibbidi-bobbidi-boos have charmed audiences for generations.
Adapted for the stage in the early 19th century, the earliest ballet of “Cinderella” dates back to around 1813. The addition of Sergei Prokofiev’s score in 1945 has since become the industry standard. Of the composition, Prokofiev said:

“... I see Cinderella not only as a fairy tale character but also a real person, feeling, experiencing and moving among us … What I wished to express above all in the music of Cinderella was the poetic love of Cinderella and the Prince, the birth and flowering of that love, the obstacles in its path and finally, the dream fulfilled.”

The plot, familiar to many, centers on the young Cinderella who, with the aid of her fairy godmother, works to out scheme her wicked step-mother and two evil step-sisters to achieve her “happily ever after.” Though many versions of “Cinderella” serve as cautionary tales on the evils of classism, the World Ballet Series’ production infuses the classic story with humor and the magic fans have come to expect — without any of the words.

On stage at the Crown Theatre, the audience will see Cinderella leap and twirl away from her life as a cinder-coated housemaid to the beautiful, worthy princess she was always meant to be.

The multi-city U.S. tour features “sparkling” Principal dancer Ekaterina Malkovich in the titular role and invited soloist Leonardo Celegato as her Prince Charming. The Wicked Stepmother, portrayed “stunningly” by dancer Angelina Zgurskaya, promises to tickle audiences as she and her two equally wicked daughters are repeatedly foiled. Rounding out the company is a cast of dancers plucked from every corner of the globe, making this bold vision of "Cinderella" one you won’t want to miss.

“Cinderella” opens at 6 p.m. on May 7. Tickets range in price from $38 to $98. To purchase, visit the Crown Complex website at https://www.crowncomplexnc.com/. No food or drink is allowed into the theatre; concessions are available at the venue.

The Crown Theatre is located at 1960 Coliseum Drive in Fayetteville.

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