Ella Enchanted at Dobama Enchants Into the Final Week!

Dobama Theatre
Professional Equity House Theatre

By: Karen Zacarías
Music by: Deborah Wicks La Puma
Based on the novel by: Gail Carson Levine

There is no better time for a story about empowerment. The world around us is in a complete state of reevaluation of what is appropriate behavior and how people should be treated. Ella Enchanted, The Musical addresses the empowerment of an individual who eventually takes life and decision making into her own hands. As the story begins, Ella (enchanting Natalie Green*) is given the “gift” of obedience as an infant by a misguided fairy (fabulous Tina D. Stump*) and cannot disobey any order. The strong-willed Ella goes on a quest to rid herself of this horrible curse. During her mystical adventure she encounters an evil stepmother, hungry ogres, enormous giants, a magical bird, and her best friend. Along the way, she finds her own voice.

This story is indeed wrapped with some highly entertaining characters, and a production design that is incredible, highlighted by T. Paul Lowry's Projection Design.
Director Nathan Motta takes us on this journey filled with well defined fantastical characters. My personal feeling is that Motta let his hair down a bit, and presented a family-friendly evening of mystical fun.

Green leads this cast with her own empowerment of a triple threat realness. She is devastatingly beautiful and entertaining. Her antics are on point, comedic chops honed, and her voice needs to bottled and sold at intermission. It is tough to be the main character in a show, where everyone around you is some kind of over the top character, but Green shines brightly and anchors the story. Stump is a scream of Lucinda the fairy that is a hot mess of gift giving. She is animated and joyful and clumsy as you would want her. As Mistress Manners, she wields a heavy hand hilariously teaching the ladies how to catch a prince with the right manners. Amy Fritsche* as Mother and Dame Olga is on fire. She is beautifully sweet as the short-lived mother character, but when she inhabits Dame Olga, she charges down the theatrical runway at full comedic speed, her wheels are up, and in this case, one bent arm, and her fantastic light shines brightly as she two faces her way through this play with maniacal glee. Everything about her is a blast. Flanking her are Hattie (Kelly Elizabeth Smith*) and Olive (Neely Gevaart+). Both these ladies are hysterically on point. Smith delivering sass like its a cabinet position, and Gevaart making a bit about saying "Bye" one of the funniest creations in Cleveland history. They are a blast. 

The gentlemen of the piece add their own significant energy. Eugene Sumlin as Sir Peter is charming and fun as he navigates with silly aplomp. Joshua McElroy+ as Prince Charmont cuts a handsome figure, and perfectly embodies the spirit and soul of the grand prize in the kingdom. He is Velvet-voiced and filled with down to earth charm. Madeline Krucek+ and Arif Silverman+ fill out the company with a variety of roles that add to the evening tremendously. They also epitomize the talented depth of the performers in this cast.

There are a couple of elements of the production that hinder a perfect evening. One is the musical score. There isn't a lot of punch or relatability here. None of the songs really seem to pull on the heartstrings or fire up the senses. The performances make them work better with talent and charm. The musical is also a bit stretched out to incorporate some additional scene and puppet play that might have worked better with a stronger score to play around.

But those issues dissolve when Motta, not only lets his hair down but throws every banana clip he has ever known in the air and presents a curtain call that takes all the characters and blasts out a megamix of songs that send you out into the world a better person. If only for Stump singing "Think" by Aretha Franklin. Miss Stump blows the roof off the ceiling and turns Dobama into a planetarium. I found Jesus and about 10 pennies on the floor.

The production elements are off the charts. Douglas Puskas adds a wonderful, simple efficient set design. Marcus Dana lights the scene work with professional creative effort and result. As I stated earlier, if there was a show stopper, it would be the projection work. Very magical and added incredibly to the evening's enjoyment factor. Jeremy Dobbins is serving clear and well-balanced sound design. Colleen Bloom has a blast costuming this crew with engaging looks. Puppet Designer Robin Vanlear provides colorful creatures and some entertaining puppets that wouldn't fit through a toll booth once they left the theatre. Technical Director Kirsten Nicole brings elements together with professional flair. Stage Manager Joel Rathbone calls an excellent show. Providing Additional Choreography is the talented Caitlin Reilly. Adding just the right feel and bounce.

Musical Director extraordinaire Jordan Cooper delivers musical bliss. Following stage cues and action with precision. musical cohorts Assistant Music Director Rachel Woods and Percussionist Justin Hart deliver wholeheartedly. 

The last performances are coming up this week, so grab your kids, and head out to capture some enchantment for the whole family.

*Member of Actors' Equity Association
+Equity Membership Candidate

Ticket Information
and Promotional Materials

November 30 - December 30


Showtimes Vary.  Click HERE for a full schedule.

Runtime: Act I - 50 minutes, Act II - 45 minutes, One 15 Minute Intermission
Content Advisories: For Ages 6 and up, features fog, lighting effects

$20-$38 Reserved Seating

(216) 932-3396
Order Tickets Online

Dobama Theatre
2340 Lee Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118