It’s been said that a dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep, and if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true. Well it seems that the hearts of Austin have spoken as the Bass Concert Hall prepares to enchant audiences with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” the Tony Award®- winning Broadway musical as part of the Broadway in Austin series.
We were able to catch up with Leslie Jackson, who plays Marie in this lush production, and she tells of some awe-inspiring features including jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments audiences loved growing up, plus some surprising new twists!
“It’s a beautiful show, we have a wonderful director and choreographer who worked on the team for the original Broadway production,” Jackson chimed. “We have the costumes from the original production which won a Tony award by William Ivy Long and they are beautiful, beautiful costumes. The amount of detail that is put into everything like set pieces, the forest, the house where Ella and her step family live and everything is really amazing. You really feel like you’re transported into a pop up book. Of course they still have the magical elements of the story so, the transformation scene where the pumpkin turns into a carriage, the mice turn into horses and all that is stunning to watch.”
Jackson, who has been a Texan for most of her life, plays an important role in the story as Marie, and she’s honored to be a part of such an incredible production.
“[Marie is] this crazy old woman that lives in the forest on the outskirts of town,” she explained. “Ella is the only person that is really kind to her and is her friend. Treats her nicely because elle believes everyone deserves to be treated with respect, kindness and generosity regardless of who they are or where they come from. So I get to help motivate Ella to find her courage and her inner strength to be able to effect the changes that she wants to see in the kingdom and her town to make her dreams come true. So it’s a lot of fun.”
For Jackson, a big part of the magic is the details many viewers may not immediately recognize, such as the fact that the costumes used in the show are the very same that helped earn a Tony award.
“I feel really honoured to have so much of the original pieces and they didn’t do any downsizing,” Jackson said. “They really tried to keep a lot of it in there which I think is really helpful to the show. It’s very fun you get to work with all of that and it’s like ‘oh my gosh this dress that I’m wearing was on Broadway’ I’m wearing a Tony award-winning costume. So obviously the story itself is like the main thing that we are excited to do but, sets, props, and costumes definitely help so much. They’re so engaging and just wonderful to look at.”
Starting as early as middle school, Jackson has always had a passion for the stage, and she’s kept with her passion for most of her adult life, touring with multiple productions across the states.
“I was taking voice lessons at the Houston Music Institute and my teacher gave me information about summer camps and programs so I started getting into that, which is really nerve racking because I was very, very shy and I got really, really bad stage fright, but I loved doing it and being the center of people on stage and to bring the audience members on this journey with you — like they get so invested in it,” she explained. “I applied for schools for opera performance and geology and sophomore year I ended up dropping geology and picking up the music theater certificate program instead.”
“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” was originally written for television, debuting in 1957 starring Julie Andrews and in 2013, the show made its long-overdue Broadway debut. With its fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this funny and romantic fairytale combines the story’s classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting. She is a spirited young woman with savvy and soul who doesn’t let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness,compassion and forgiveness.
Tickets start at $20, and are available at BroadwayinAustin.com, the Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060. For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804.