PLAYBILL BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Mark Brokaw, the Director Helping Cinderella Slip Into New Shoes

By Robert Simonson
09 Feb 2013

Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes in Cinderella.
Photo by Carol Rosegg

It must be one of the challenges for you, to strike that balance between a sincere respect for the musical and finding a fresh interpretation that would appeal to modern audiences.
MB: I think the heart of the story is timeless. That's why we still like fairy tales. There's something at the heart of the human condition there, and I think that's certainly true of Cinderella. In this script, the Fairy God Mother says to Cinderella at one point, "You're the only one who has shown me charity, generosity and kindness." I think those are timeless things, and it's always important to be reminded of them.

What Rodgers and Hammerstein songs were interpolated into the score?
MB: Uh, it's hard for me to remember because they all seem like they've been there all the time. There is a song called "Loved and Learned," a song called "Now Is the Time," and one called "Me, Who Am I?" and "The Music in You."

You've directed Broadway musicals before. But is there a difference between directing a new musical and directing a piece by Rodgers and Hammerstein? Do you have to use different tools?
MB: No, I don't. I don't think so. It's just that Rodgers and Hammerstein are the gold standard. So much of what musical theatre is today still comes from what they did. They put in social content. And I think that's still what's in musicals today. That's what's in Spring Awakening.

From a certain point of view, you're in the curious position of directing a Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway premiere.
MB: Yeah. One of the fun things about working on it is: It really does feel like we're working on a new show, a brand new Rodgers and Hammerstein show. That's exciting and not an everyday occurrence.

And all the numbers have been newly orchestrated.
MB: Yes. We're really lucky to have David Chase on board as our musical supervisor. One of his tasks was to really arrange the score. He's a Rodgers and Hammerstein nut. Their music is in his blood. He had to make the score totally fresh and today, and totally Rodgers and Hammerstein.

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Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN