Written by African-American Shakespeare Company Members
Directed by Sherri Young
Enjoy the laughter this holiday season with the African-American Shakespeare Company’s original production of Cinderella. Delighting audiences for over 23 years, this is the heartwarming production of the lowly scullery maid who doesn’t know her own value. Only when a special invitation to the palace arrives, does Cinderella begin to dream of something more, but her stepmother and (oddly masculine) stepsisters have different plans for our heroine. Dreams do come true… with the help of a sassy fairy godmother who can make the magic happen. A side-splitting comedy that will have all ages with tears of laughter in their eyes and warmth in their hearts this holiday.
I wanted to take our show back to its original brilliance. Over the years we have had so many alterations and changes, that now it’s time to go back to the original hearfelt storytelling that makes Cinderella so special—with the uniqueness that only African-American Shakespeare Company can bring.
Our little girls of color hear things like “not good enough”, “not pretty enough”, “not special enough” more than any child—so Cinderella is our gift to our young girls of color to know that they are treasured. This is the show for those little girls who were told they could never be a Princess, this is the show for those who tried to scrub the brown off their skin or wear the bed sheets on their heads so they can have long flowing tresses.
17 years ago, I didn’t see enough positive images for young black females at the time. Black women were portrayed as a sassy, sashaying, hand-on-hip abrasive characters. What these images lacked was a 3D dimension of the black woman. We do have that inner strength, but there is also vulnerability, softness, and the need to be loved, cared, and protected.
Needless to say, our Cinderella doesn’t fit in the traditional form of what we remember the Disney Cinderella to demonstrate. Yes, our Cinderella is kind and gentle, but she is fully aware of the inequalities in her life—and yet she does not allow those inequalities to define her. This is what makes Cinderella so brilliant! In the guise of all of these atrocities that happens she fights to remain positive and rise above.
Our Cinderella discovers that even if there were no Prince (spoiler) in her life, that she is able to still be all those things and that is what a makes her a strong woman.