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THEATER REVIEW 'CINDERELLA' : Magical Show : The Illusions Theater company creates an inventive, funny musical version of the rags-to-riches fairy tale.

July 11, 1991|TODD EVERETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In the universe of theater for children, it would be pretty hard to beat the efforts of Ojai's Illusions Theater company.

Its current production, "Cinderella," written and directed by Elizabeth Ridenour, is typical for the group, which is to say very good, indeed.

Patterned after the Disney version and including some of that film's characters (mice Jac and Gus-Gus and cat Lucifer) and one of its songs, this "Cinderella" is a cleverly costumed singing and dancing spectacular that--like all Illusions shows--mixes child and adult performers so adroitly that it soon doesn't matter who is on stage.

More than 30 players perform, including musical director, singer and inventive synthesizer player Michael Bolotin; a team of young gymnasts; the requisite stepsisters (Maura Emanuel, Nan Daneau and Susan Summer); stepmother (Glenn Emanuel in drag); fairy godmother (Cheryl Magee, a real showstopper), and the king's handsome son ("a prince of a fellow," as he's described, played by Seth Ridenour).

The material is uniformly funny, mixing gags, topical references and surprising musical selections ranging from Irving Berlin to rock 'n' roll. At the Royal Ball, the assembled lords and ladies minuet to the strains of "In the Midnight Hour."

Lasting just over an hour, the show doesn't tax the moppets' attention span and should be pretty easy for adults to take as well.

* WHERE AND WHEN

"Cinderella" concludes this weekend, with performances at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday at Libbey Bowl in the rear of Libbey Park off Ojai's main street, Ojai Avenue. Tickets are $6, $3.50 seniors and children. Sunday's show only will be signed by Debbie Tygell for the hearing-impaired. For group rates or information, call 646-3533 or 646-6387.

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